No arrests in Makerere fraud case as 69 degrees recalled

Ugandan police have made no arrests among the 88 suspects – some of them alleged to be politicians and business people – implicated in the altering or forging of marks at Makerere University, months after university officials reported the offences.

Up to 69 degrees are to be cancelled at Makerere University following the findings of a university audit initiated in September which examined approximately 60,000 degrees and found that the students’ transcripts were either forged or reflected altered results. The students have been invited to appear before an ad hoc committee for a final defence before the cancellation.

The audit report, which is not available to the public, has revealed that results were altered at senate level after lecturers and college and school registrars made their submissions.

Former academic registrar, Professor Alfred Namoah, told University World News the university had recommended that the police arrest 88 suspects after its investigations had concluded. The suspects included university staff and both current and past students.

He said a former minister who obtained a graduate degree in public administration and a number of members of parliament as well as high-flying professionals would likely be affected.

Transcripts of all of the university graduates this year, numbering about 14,000, were initially withheld as a result of the audit, but are now ready for collection.

In September the university ordered an investigation in all colleges and schools to verify the marks of all students who had graduated since 2011 to ascertain the authenticity of their results and the class of degrees awarded.

According to local news reports, neither the police nor the university management could explain reasons for the inordinate delay in tackling a racket allegedly made up of staff, alumni and continuing students.

The report said that the university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, said the institution had dismissed one staff member implicated in the initial investigations for illegally adding ineligible graduands to the graduation booklets. He said that management was still waiting for a report from the probe team on the other suspects.

The Makerere investigation committee was led by Dr Damalie Naggitta-Musoke, the former dean of the university’s School of Law. The audit compared questionable degrees with students' result papers and exam results submitted by lecturers and colleges to their deans from 2011. It also looked at the academic registrar's records.

The investigation was triggered by a preliminary report by the investigation committee that unearthed a staggering mismatch between results submitted by colleges and schools and final scores released by the Office of the Academic Registrar, which prompted the university to stretch the investigation to cover the past five years.

In March this year the university was forced to close the online marks system used to record students' examinations scores, and suspended the issuance of academic transcripts.