The Deputy Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary School Education (MBSSE), Emily Kadiatu Gogra, has confirmed that five senior officials including the head of WAEC are presently helping the police on the issues of examination malpractice across the country. According to the Deputy Minister, the raid at the WAEC head office along A.J. Momoh Street, in Freetown was to ascertain the reasons why after the closure of the just concluded private WASSCE exams, about 20 students were caught re-writing the same exams in a private home at Goderich on Thursday 3rd October 2019. She said among the 20 students about nine were in police custody in Lumley helping with the investigations. The Deputy Minister maintained that the students were caught writing on the same answer sheets that they used to write the exams some weeks ago, disclosing the answer sheets were supposed to be in the custody of WAEC but were caught with student writing on them. She said they met with the senior officials of WAEC together with some personnel from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to ascertain how those answer sheets and question papers that should be in WAEC custody were found in possession of unauthorized persons writing on them.
Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Minister Gogra said the head of WAEC urged them to get to the truth of the issue that is becoming unbecoming across the country, maintaining those papers should be ready for delivery to the people responsible for marking but were found somewhere else. According to her, the CID personnel together with the Police commenced search operations within the offices of senior WAEC officials and they were able to get some evidences that are relevant to their investigation. “We were able to see some papers that should be either in the script room or storage rooms but were found in some of these official’s offices,” she said, disclosing they were able to find some question papers, answer sheets that are presently with the police for further investigation. The Deputy Minster disclosed that five senior WAEC officials are being investigated on how those answer sheets and question papers left WAEC after the end of the exams about a week or two ago, disclosing it was agreed the National Head of WAEC should be released on bail but should be reporting on a daily basis at the CID. She however assured that they would put a final stop to this unhealthy practice across the country with the support of the public as a way of restoring the integrity of the country’s educational structure. It could be recalled that the Anti Corruption Commission over the past months have been catching students and teachers engaged in exams malpractices which had sparked up debates from all corners. WAEC staff were seen standing in front of their Office along A. J. Momoh Street with their backpacks with tense faces, calling for the opening of their offices to enable them perform their work effectively. In an interview with the Senior Assistant Registrar of WAEC, Abdul Samuel Thorley, it was disclosed that officials from the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary School barricaded their offices and searched their private offices which contain sensitive information that are not even exposed to the Head of WAEC and were catered away along with some sensitive materials. He maintained senior officials were humiliated without any tangible evidence, disclosing that they are now faced with insecurity and political threat in their offices. “WAEC is an autonomous body that is free from any political interference” he said, assuring that the allegations of WAEC officials being caught in exams malpractices is a ‘blatant lie’, citing the incidents at Cotton Tree and Waterloo where monitors were caught sharing monies does not include any WAEC official. In addition, the WAEC Administrative Officer 2, Aiah Philip Nyandemoh, disclosed officials from MBSSE together with Police personnel barricaded their office since the night of Thursday 3rd October 2019 and conducted search into their offices on Friday 4th October 2019. He disclosed that the police personnel and MBSSE officials forcefully broke into some offices including his own, and catered away sensitive materials which they should have not done. Aiah maintained that they are interested in getting to the truth of the issue, as they are tired with the embarrassment from the public that WAEC officials are involved in exams malpractice, assuring that they will continue to sit-down until their offices are opened. According to a Public Notice posted by the WAEC Staff on their notice board, it was alleged that senior staff offices together with the ‘STRONG AND SCRIPT’ rooms were searched and sensitive materials catered away including,
- Leftover constrained question papers for the just concluded WASSCE for private candidates of 2019
- Pre-printed objective answer sheets for some clustered papers
- Completed malpractice forms from various examination centres for WASSCE for Private Candidates of 2019
- Plan of Work for Home Science practical
- Past question papers for previous years
- Draft marking schemes for WASSCE for Private Candidates of 2019
- Code of Conducts for staff of WAEC
- Telephone directory containing the mobile numbers of staff and
- The Organogram of the Council
The Notice further stated that the closure of the Script Room is in contravention of the Council’s Rules and Regulations governing Post-examination activities, disclosing the closure has therefor forestalled the entering of all past examination activities. It went further to inform the public that work cannot go on until they are able to gain access into the Script Room and confidential documents away are properly checked, accounted for in the presence of MBSSE officials and the Sierra Leone Police Force and the Press.
By Alhaji Manika Kamara
Login or Subscribe to read the entire article