Busoga University closed after awarding 1,000 South Sudanese fake degrees in 60 days

Busoga University closed after awarding 1,000 South Sudanese fake degrees in 60 days
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The Uganda National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) has revoked Busoga University’s licence over the manner in which more than 1,000 South Sudanese were admitted and went on to graduate in a space of two months.

The NCHE has made the announcement after finalizing investigations into this matter after Lual Akol Nhial, the South Sudan education attaché asked the body to review the admission of these students — most of whom are government officials and generals in the army — to analyse their continuous semester results, coursework and assignments and tuition fee payments of the past three years.

The official asked the Council to investigate the affiliation of Busoga University in Uganda and Star University College in Juba and review the attendance lists during lectures and study programmes of Busoga University. He also called for sanctions on students who did not qualify to graduate.

It has now been discovered that besides the South Sudanese, there are 50 Nigerian nationals involved in the scandal.

In September, 2012, the same University was involved in almost a similar case, where it suspended four of its senior staff for issuing ‘fake’ degrees to students.

The officials allegedly used to remove, from the graduation booklet, names of some students who were genuinely meant to graduate and substituted them with the unqualified ones, with the beneficiaries of the mischief reportedly having paid Shs60 million.

‘Quick fix’

The NCHE executive director Prof John Opuda-Asibo said that “there are usually powerful people behind these admissions.”

At the heart of the matter is financial reward for the university, while for the students, the promise of academic papers that would keep them in key positions in government made it a worthwhile investment.

For the two-month course and academic papers, sources indicate that Busoga University bagged more than $1 million as each student paid over the odds, forking out $1,000 in tuition fees — way higher than the average of $300 per semester, for most programmes in Ugandan universities.

According to the trail of documents, the students were transferred from Star University College in Juba to Busoga University only in July this year, and by end of September, the latter had them on the list of graduands to be awarded various academic qualifications.

Star University College obtained “temporary approval for operation” from South Sudan’s National Council for Higher Education on July 21, 2016, implying that the students the institution transferred to Busoga University could not have been pursuing programmes which take two to three years for the award of diplomas and degrees.

Further, according to sources familiar with the manner in which this fraud was planned and orchestrated, most of the students are generals in the South Sudan army — who occupy high offices and needed a “quick fix” of academic papers to remain in these positions.

The students also lacked the minimum criteria for admission — an advanced level certificate or its equivalent.

In the paper trail is a handwritten memo to the NHCE executive director, from a whistle blower who says he was a senior officer at Busoga University until “I was terminated from that post on Monday September 19, 2016.”

He adds that the South Sudanese students “are for graduation yet they have never been legally registered by the university. There was no formal registration done to verify the authenticity, accuracy and correctness of the academic documents for these students.”

Forged results

His letter also mentions the group of Nigerians from Cavendish University, “which I investigated and found that over 50 of them had forged results yet some of them are appended on the graduation list of September 30, 2016.

“Please investigate these issues and if anything wrong happens, I disassociate myself from any intended errors of whatsoever sort,” he signs off.

The NCHE boss Prof Opuda-Asibo wrote to the Busoga University vice chancellor on September 27, warning that the institution was violating its terms of a provisional licence.

“It has been alleged that your university is in the process of graduating a number of students who did not meet the minimum entry criteria set for admissibility to the academic programmes for which you intend to make awards, contrary to Section 5 (j) of the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001, as amended and the provisions of Statutory Instrument 63 of 2007,” he wrote.

Prof Opuda-Asibo, whose body regulates tertiary education in Uganda, ordered that the graduation of September 30 be halted, but the university management paid a deaf ear and proceeded to hold the graduation ceremony.

In his letter, Prof Opuda-Asibo also asked for information on all students admitted that were about to graduate, the academic programmes the university offers and the time they were accredited by NCHE, list of university staff and their appointment letters, among others.

Higher education

“This is an urgent matter concerning the value and regulation of higher education in our country and its standing regionally and internationally,” Prof Opuda-Asibo concluded.

The Speaker of Parliament Ms Rebecca Kadaga, who is the vice chairperson of Busoga University Council, entered the fray, citing a breach of the Diplomatic Privileges Act by Mr Nhial for attempting to block his countrymen from graduating in ceremonies held on September 29 and 30.

In a protest note to the South Sudan’s ambassador to Uganda, Ms Kadaga demanded to know if the action of Mr Nhial was “the official position of the Government of South Sudan” and if so “why it was not routed through the Uganda Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.

“I would also like to know why you, the officially accredited envoy of the South Sudan Government did not address the Uganda Government,” she wrote on November 2. “I am considering writing to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to lift the diplomatic immunity of the Education Attaché for the above breach.”

Our efforts to seek comment from Ms Kadaga and Busoga University administration failed.

The scandal comes just three years after Kampala University — another institution of higher learning in Uganda — was accused of irregularly conferring a degree on the Governor of Kenya’s Mombasa County Hassan Johot.

In an April 2013 resolution, NCHE ruled that Mr Joho’s degree was a fraud and should be recalled as “there was no clear evidence that academic due process was followed from admission to graduation regarding a Bachelor of Business Administration degree (Human Resource Management option) awarded to Mr Hassan Joho by Kampala University.”

In October 2014, however, the Ugandan High Court upheld the validity of the certificate, quashing the council’s earlier decision on it.

Additional reporting by The EastAfrican

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31 Responses to "Busoga University closed after awarding 1,000 South Sudanese fake degrees in 60 days"

  1. Jok   December 21, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Excellent Lual Akol you have done a wonderful job not that u betrayed your countrymen as claim by speaker of the Parliament of the peoples republic of Uganda rite honorable Rebecca kdga but you always tells the truth yes they will graduate but not within 2months serious

  2. Kuol Ajokbil   December 21, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    This is what is required of a cetizin who put a country to his heart. I know they will hate you of having said the fact

  3. Raos Tolili   December 21, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    This is a shame and big embarrassment to the leadership of Busoga University. The NCHE should ensure the staff of the University together with the leadership should be prosecuted. On the other hand, NCHE should strengthen the monitoring function of the council. This might have been an ongoing scam at the University. Oh Uganda, corruption is eating up motherland- from the ghosts soldiers, supply of fake drugs, bribery by police, UNRA scandals and now fake degrees! Something needs to be done and must be pretty fast. This is no longer tolerable.

  4. Muwanguzi David   December 21, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Why even hate him? He is just among the few breeds found on the African continent. Shame upon Busoga University. The name Busoga should actually be removed from this sham university because it’s a disgrace to many of us. We condemn this ugly action by a university we thought had come to uplift the name and glory of Busoga region

  5. George Bandas   December 21, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Sorry for fellow south sudaneses who have wested their time.

  6. Kisira Robert Humphrey   December 21, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    I would suggest that let the NCHE recalls only the fake degrees from those affected sudanes than closing the university coz it was not only sudanes who were students in that universty.By closing the universty will even affect the inocent students.

  7. Aine   December 22, 2016 at 5:21 am

    That Kadaga is another misery to Uganda, NCHE should investigate her academic qualifications, she seems to embrace ignorance over academic. May God reign in the fallen land of thieves, Uganda and S. Sudan.

  8. Big meat   December 22, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    1000 South Sudanese in two months. I have always said that this money minded schools in east Africa will doom our country. They only produce half baked professionals who are only good at getting fat and marrying man wives. I know many of the Ugandan universities are sitting on the same vice.

  9. TJ   December 22, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    The problem of South Sudan is not that the country has no Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D., degree holders, and competent qualified Public Servants, but rather that the affairs of the country are been managed and mismanaged by the illiterate educated graduates and illiterate military Generals.

  10. Some Truth   December 22, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    No wonder South Sudan is what it is now- because it is run by ignorant people carrying fake academic papers. Real educated people would have a little idea of how to successfully run a country with 64 different tribes.

  11. Carlos McSultan   December 22, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    Ugandan are always after money, and these fake self claim general have made it their advantages,, they thought they gonna pouch bachelor the same way the pouched their ranks of Gen..

  12. Mugabi Timothy   December 27, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    NCHE, Help Ur & Re Open The University According To Ur Investigation

  13. Wen de Jieeng   December 28, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Those students did not study for two months as claimed, only that they were students of Cavendish campus in Juba and when Cavendish left the students had left with only one academic semester to finish their degrees, so they were given special exams by Busoga to evaluate them and consider them as continuing students after finishing their due semester. so Lual must have his own conflict of interest but not the false of students or Busoga…….. Shame on you.

  14. mading chan   December 28, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    closing of university is absolutely against the right of innocent students, Mr lual Akol should ponder of something that embrace his countrymen but not be jail on their education.

  15. Aarai Baka.   December 30, 2016 at 3:31 am

    very shameful for all those uneducated general to get degrees that they didn’t attending the school for duration of students qualify to graduate…I saw those degrees in most of their offices in Juba but their secretaries are their family member who are in high school, and none of those high rank generals doesn’t speak a proper English or writing.

  16. umar   January 11, 2017 at 3:19 am

    I think NCHE is not to close down the university or revoke their license but to punish the school management in the right way. because revoking school license will affect the innocent student especially those who are successfully finish their academic program in which they are just waiting for graduation and those who are only remain with a semester to finish their program. Let there be another punishment for the management but not the school as that will definitely affect innocent students

  17. WAKUTILE ANTHONY GODWIN   January 14, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    EVEN ME WHO IS INNOCENT T MOVE INTO THE SAGA????? WHAT A HELL?

  18. MUSAKA PAUL BUYERA   January 15, 2017 at 7:51 am

    lt’s too sad for such a thing to happen but we have guinine students who have completed their three years what happens to their documents?

  19. Yohannes   January 19, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Its so unfortunate that such a fraudulent action has been done by the university mgt and its affecting me the innocent student who is just left with two semesters to complete my course. I do suggest that NCHE punishes the mgt and reopens the university to save the innocent students

  20. John Leonard Nyango   January 21, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    The University management or leadership should be dis-banded. Can you imagine a university without a students’ guild leadership.!!!

  21. alex kirya   January 23, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    this is akind of money issue coz i have one ov my sisters at dis university bt what ever she tels me iz anoying meaning even d lecturers are not profesional i mean some ov dem coz dey aword mrks after being paid 50000 each course could be dey are not being paid or dy are gredy 4 money bt my sugtion iz 2 change d administrators coz we also need jobs en our poor parents shd be considered wiz d litle money dy pay en now dayz itz d expensive private university yet it gives fack degrees den whrere iz uganda education goin i pray d lord shd redem us

  22. Akuei Michael   February 4, 2017 at 11:31 am

    I stand to be corrected at this point of my concern, I am a truly and a partriotic committed student who would want to serve not only his interest first but rather serves the best out of many, many and millions students who may had for one reason desired and developed the love and a greater feeling of education in them and among themselves.

    Busoga university is neither for south Sudanese students nor Ugandans students nationalists. We need it keep it reputation like holding an eggs in a tray, the University is so big and too great to an extent of accommodating millions and millions students who have a desire for education.

    The move taken by the NCHE is not so bad because it’s meant to monitor and evaluate and access the on going academical system in the Uganda.

    But south Sudanese must understand themselves first inorder for them to understand themselves with their neighbours from the neighbouring borders.

    Let’s stand for our brothers for they may stand for us tomorrow.

    Thanks, Uganda national concil of higher education for alerting the cats.

  23. maker machol   February 8, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    It is a good move by the council of higher education in Uganda to investigate the alleged allegation

  24. Mugabi Timothy   February 13, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    This Information Is Not True

  25. John Awin   March 22, 2017 at 4:59 am

    That’s a shocking news to our fellow S. Sudanese, Why not applying here in our government Universities and pursue your degrees or Uganda government Universities and avoid such kind of the Universities that doesn’t follow the system? Always remembering this parable, a quick brown fox jumps over the lazy 🐶 dog! Fellows always short is hurting deep 👇.

  26. JJ   May 15, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Interesting

  27. Ayuiu Makuac Lam   May 15, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Mr Lual Akol was my secondary teacher teaching me history
    He very committed man than more others.

  28. David Shang   May 18, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Shame for University authorities for forgery . I know alot of power gred politicians, Generals and governors got their fake bachelor degrees from Uganda and Kenya. Those power gred politicians include FVP Taban Deng Gai and PHD holder Salva Kiir Mayardit. Salva was rewared his PHD in Kenya by paid ransom inturn. What a lack of nationalism?

  29. David Shang   May 18, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Shame for University authorities for forgery . I know alot of power gred politicians, Generals and governors from South Sudan got their fake bachelor degrees and masters from Uganda and Kenya. Those power gred politicians include FVP Taban Deng Gai and PHD holder Salva Kiir Mayardit. Salva was rewared his PHD in Kenya by paid ransom inturn. What a lack of nationalism?

  30. General Malong   May 18, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    So unfortunate that some of us spent 4 years to get our degrees from Ugandan Universities and some of our countrymen were busy sleeping and now wanted to earn degrees in just two months. Busoga University should have acted wisely and not being misled by greed for money. No wonder these illiterates have made it hard for some of us to get good jobs.

  31. Pingback: Busoga University shut down by Government over fake degrees in fresh purge on - The Ugandan

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