Following intelligence reports of the sale of examination papers to candidates sitting the ongoing Kenya Certificate of Secondary Schools Examinations, detectives arrested four suspects suspected of high-level examination fraud (KCSE).
The investigations were launched exactly one week ago by detectives attached to the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC), and four college students from at least four institutions of higher learning have been arrested so far.
Gideon Kibet Tanui, alias Evans Kipruto, an Information Technology student at Baringo Technical College, was apprehended from his rented room next to the college on March 15, at around 10:30 a.m., while he was busy administering English paper 2 and Chemistry paper 1 to students of Silibwet and Sitoito secondary schools in Molo, via his Whatsapp group with a following of 70 members.
According to DCI, the suspect was selling examination papers for a pittance of Sh500 each.
He was found to be a member of two fraudulent examination Telegram groups, each with over 17,000 followers.
“The IT student whose Mpesa account had over Sh10,000 at the time of his arrest was also operating a separate KCB account at Kabarnet branch, where he immediately transferred the received cash from his Mpesa to avoid reversals.
“To conceal his identity, the SIM card he was using was registered using the identification details of one Evans Kiprono,” DCI boss George Kinoti said.
Tanui is said to have engaged the detectives in a hide and seek game since last Sunday before being cornered in Baringo, in an operation that also involved DCI social media sleuths and a Twitter admin who posed as a candidate.
Kevin Kiprotich Langat, a bachelor of arts student in Swahili at Rongo University, was arrested on Thursday.
According to DCI, Langat, who was in constant contact with the first suspect, forwarded the English paper to him.
“It is at Rongo University where a wider syndicate of the examination fraudsters existed, in a Telegram group dubbed the ‘Kale Group’ created under the name ‘Bailing Out’ among other groups,” DCI said.
According to SCI, Langat led detectives to another suspect, a first-year political science and Swahili classmate named Justice Leting, who was busy distributing the Kiswahili paper and preparing answers for the Chemistry practical at the time of his arrest.
According to the DCI, a candid conversation between Leting and a student named Bett was retrieved from Leting’s WhatsApp forum, in which Leting assured Bett that everything was fine and that the answers he had provided were genuine because he was a’star’ in Swahili at the time.
“Nilipata one hour to, nikaunda answers,” Leting assured the candidate. “Niliunda legitly, nilikuwanga star kwa Kiswahili,” he added.
Using cyber and digital forensics, detectives intercepted tens of messages containing screenshots of the papers under investigation, including handwritten responses that will be subjected to forensic document examination at the DCI National Forensic Laboratory to determine the authors.
“Shockingly, Leting’s mobile phone had the entire KCSE examination material which was recovered by the detectives. He revealed to have been working with other students at the institution who are still being pursued,” DCI said.
Tanui’s earlier arrest at Baringo Technical College is credited with his entry into the high-level syndicate, according to DCI.
The arrest opened a new can of worms in the investigation of national examination malpractices.
Despite the Ministry of Education’s concerted efforts, led by the Cabinet Secretary, and KNEC officials to uphold the integrity of the examination’s administration, those efforts are being jeopardized by corrupt government officials at the county level.
“An elaborate web of fraudsters comprising of school heads, security agents, parents and college students, in some parts of the country have conspired to give lazy students an unfair advantage over their counterparts who worked hard and prepared for their examinations,” DCI noted.
In some cases, examination containers are opened hours before the scheduled time to distribute examination papers to university and college students for the development of answers that are later sold to candidates.
Detectives have also discovered that the syndicate has a till number account at Ecobank, where candidates are asked to deposit Sh5,000 per paper, or a discounted rate of Sh20,000 for the entire examination
Detectives have already narrowed in on the masterminds of this high-level fraud, who are thought to be hiding in Nandi Hills. They’re not going anywhere.
Cyber and digital forensics experts are analyzing all of the subscribers in the Whatsapp and Telegram groups involved in the Examination malpractice for legal action, while document examination and handwriting sleuths are assisting them.