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Uganda: Makerere University expels staff over forging marks

Authorities at Makerere University have dismissed two staff members from the School of Health Sciences for altering marks and smuggling unqualified students onto the 2017 graduation list.

The university has also demoted Dr Rose Chalo Nabirye, the dean of the School of Health Sciences, and Dr Isaac Okullo, the deputy principal of the College of Health Sciences, over failure to prevent the fraud.

The dismissed university staff are the deputy registrar of the College of Health Sciences, Ms Fatuma Nakatudde, and the college’s senior administrative assistant, Mr Paul Apunyo.

These decisions were taken by the Appointments Board of the University at its 575th meeting held on October 5.

The names of the affected staff were on October 10 forwarded to the Directorate of Human Resources for action.

The dismissal and demotion of senior managers gives credence to a longstanding claims of falsifying results at Makerere University, the country’s premier institution of higher learning.

This incident comes less than three months to the university’s 69th graduation ceremony scheduled for January next year.

Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the vice chancellor, confirmed the dismissal and demotion of Makerere staff members at the weekend.

“Those students will certainly have their degrees recalled but they have a right to appeal. This is a warning to all those who handle students’ marks, that fraud will not be tolerated,” Pro Nawangwe said.

Available details show that the two officials who were dismissed from the university entered the names of two students into the Makerere University examination results system and included their names on the February 2017 graduation list.

“The particulars of these complaints are that you, Paul Apunyo, while employed as a senior administrative assistant in the College of Health Science, Makerere University, unlawfully, without authority entered the names of Rogers Mushabe and Alex Madile into the examination result system, which is likely to cause financial loss to the university,” the human resource (HR) letter to Mr Apunyo reads, in part.

The HR pins the two staff on unauthorised access and alteration of university documents, records or information, professional and/or ethical misconduct, acts that are prejudice to the proper performance of duties or the university image hence contravening the university human resources manual.

In their meeting, the Appointments Board ruled that the actions of the two staff tantamount to what they called “gross misconduct” and cited the violation of sections 5 and 8 of the Makerere University Human Resource Manual 2009.

They also resolved to dismiss the affected staff with immediate effect as per sections 5,9 (d) of Makerere University Human Resource Manual,”

The affected staff were asked to hand over office and all university property in their possession to the principal, College of Health Sciences.

The dismissal letters were copied to Prof Nawangwe, the academic registrar, university bursar, director of legal affairs, among others.

Makerere University Academic Staff Association chairperson Deus Kamunyu told Sunday Monitor at the weekend that they are still studying the letters of the affected staff to establish whether there was any hidden agenda.

“I have just seen the decision of the appointment point communicated. I am trying to study the underlying issues and I have also asked the college representative to understand the issues and advise on how to react,” Mr Kamunyu said, adding that “our members have been demoted so we have to see if we are satisfied with the decision that has been made by the board.”

Background

Names withdrawn- Prior to the 2017 graduation ceremony, Makerere University management withdrew the names of 59 students from the final graduation booklet after it emerged that their names had been smuggled in the booklet.

Transcripts withheld- The university also withheld the transcripts of more than 14,000 students who gradated that year and ordered an investigation into forgery of marks.

The university took the decision to withhold academic transcripts on March 9 2017, after suspending four staff from the academic registrar’s department on suspicion that they participated in altering students’ marks without permission from their bosses.

System shut down. The Academic Registrar, Mr Alfred Masikye Namoah, on March 20 2017, wrote to the university staff, students and stakeholders indicating they had temporarily shut down the transcripts processing in order to clean up the mess.

By Daily Monitor

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