The Observer (Kampala)

5 February 2013

Uganda: Conmen Steal CVs, Degrees to Get Jobs

Con stars may not be as far removed from your CV and academic papers as you may think.

The fast-moving canny men and women are stealing curriculum vitaes and academic papers and using them to win lucrative jobs and contracts, police say. Eng Dan Otwane Etiage is one such victim and has tipped off police, who have launched a hunt for the directors of Chriat Contractors Company Ltd. The directors are alleged to have forged his academic documents to win the tender to construct two government schools in the western district of Kanungu.

The accused directors, who are on the run, have been identified as Christopher Turyatunga and Annet Kakuru, all residents of Kanungu. According to police, the directors photocopied and forged the transcripts, curriculum vitae (CV) and other certificates and used them to win the tender to construct Kihihi and Nyakinoni Secondary schools in Kanungu district.

"After forging his academic papers, they bid and won the tender for construction of these schools at about Shs 800m," Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Ibn Senkumbi said.

Police said the directors claimed he was their site engineer whereas not. The construction of these schools was funded by the World Bank programme in support of the Universal Post-Primary Education and training 2009/2012 through the ministry of Education and Sports.

"We have been calling them [the suspects] for interrogation but they have failed to turn up and they pretend not to be the accused," Senkumbi said, adding there are criminal summons for them to appear at CPS, Kampala.

"If they fail to come, they will be arrested and charged with impersonating a person named in the certificate!"

Eng Otwane in a police statement says: "I have never dealt with any of these directors; I don't know them but I only got a tip from my colleague that they illegally used my academic papers to win a tender for construction of schools and I reported to police."

Senkumbi said they are going to start investigating employers to find out how they handle and keep documents of unsuccessful applicants. According to the ministry of Education and Sports, the school board of directors awarded the tender to Chriat Company Ltd.

"As the ministry, they were not involved in awarding the tender, it was done by the school board of directors," Senkumbi said.

He said a lot of forged academic papers have been used by people to get jobs.

"In public service or government, academic documents are seriously scrutinised but in the private sector, they don't go the extra mile to find the true ownership of papers," he said.

Government introduced the Universal Post-Primary Education and Training (UPPET) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) to cater for poor students who complete UPE. The enrolment outnumbered the available infrastructure like classrooms, laboratories, libraries and sanitation.

The government re-introduced the double shift system in secondary schools under USE as a temporary measure to address the shortage of classrooms amidst increasing students. The system was to be phased out when more classrooms were constructed, funded by government in partnership with the World bank. The construction of these schools is supported by the ministry of Education and Sports under the World bank support to Universal Post-Primary Education and Training 2009-2012.

Some 761 USE schools are to be constructed in different districts to cater for the increased number of USE students countrywide. According to the bidding contract, Chriat was contracted to construct six new classroom blocks, a two-unit science block, install a lightning protection and supply furniture, which was done.

Senkumbi requested government to put tight measures at printing factories because that is where most forgeries are made.

"If strong regulations are put up for printing areas that make forgeries, the owners of these machines will fear to risk their jobs and eventually it will stop," he said.

"A person may not steal your transcript, but if he finds out your transcript number, he will forge it and print it at Nasser [road] put your name and number and get the job especially outside the country...," Senkumbi said.

He advised people to report any forgeries to police.

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