By Sarah Omondi
Detectives have arrested four college students in connection with high level examination fraud following reports of sale of KCSE examination papers.
Investigations were launched last week following rising exam malpractice with at least 70 exam cheating cases having been reported by last Saturday since the start of KCSE exams.
Besides rogue officials taking advantage of the time between when they are collected from the containers and when they are scheduled to start to leak the papers to the students, cases of exam photos being shared online have also been reported.
Among the reported cases include arrest of more than 50 candidates and supervisor within two separate exam centres at Kakuma Refugee camp in Turkana and three impersonation incidents in West Pokot, Kisii and Busia counties.
Others are arrest of two teachers in Nairobi found discussing Chemistry paper and two others and lab technician in Kericho last Friday.
Also, arrest of Isiolo’s Kinna Secondary principal, supervisor and four invigilators for abetting cheating through use of mobile phones.
Education CS George Magoha earlier downplayed the cases terming them attempts to cheat and pushed forward the container opening time to remedy the situation.
The main suspect in the exam fraud is Baringo Technical College IT student Gideon Kibet Tanui, alias Evans Kipruto, who was arrested at his room adjacent to the college Tuesday.
He was during the arrest administering English Paper II and Chemistry Paper I to students of Silibwet and Sitoito secondary schools via a Whatsapp group with over 60 members.
Reports indicate that Mr Kibet was distributing a paper at Sh500 and was a member of two fraudulent exam Telegram groups with over 17, 000 followers.
The suspect, detectives say, transacted through his Mpesa account but immediately after receiving the monies, transferred to a separate KCB account to avoid rehearsals.
He had Sh10, 000 in Mpesa at the time believed to be proceeds from the illegal business. His sim card was registered using ID details of one Evans Kiprono to ostensibly conceal his identity.
Mr Kibet’s arrest led sleuths to Rongo University’s student Kevin Kiprotich Langat who he was in constant communication with and who had forwarded him the English Paper.
Investigators say at the University, existed a syndicate of the exam fraudsters who operated through among others a Telegram group “Kale Group” created under the name “Bailing Out”.
The second suspect led the investigators to another culprit Justice Leting, a first year political science student, who was at the time of arrest distributing Kiswahili paper and preparing answers for Chemistry paper I.
He revealed to have been working with other students at the institution who are still being pursued.
The detectives would on Mr Leting’s Whatsapp, discover an interaction between him and another person believed to be a student where the former assured that the Swahili paper answers he had provided were correct.
Shockingly, Leting’s mobile phone had the entire KCSE examination material which was recovered by the officers.
Using cyber and digital forensics, detectives intercepted tens of messages containing screenshots of the papers that are currently being examined, including handwritten answers which will be subjected to forensic document examination at the DCI National Forensic Laboratory, to ascertain the authors.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations said in spite of joint efforts by the MoE and KNEC officials to ensure integrity in adminstration of the exams, “some rogue government officials at county levels were jeopardizing the efforts”.
Cheating, DCI said, was being aided by an intricate web of fraudsters comprising of school heads, security agents, parents and college students.
It has been established that on some occasions, the examination containers are opened hours before the set time, to supply the papers to university and college students who then develop answers and later sell to candidates.
Students have had to pay as much as Sh5000 per paper or Sh20, 000 discounted rate for the whole examination.