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16.03.2005 General News

Scandal hits Legon (Part 3)

By Daily Guide
Scandal hits Legon (Part 3)
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... Exam Results for sale ... Vice & pro-chancellor "forge" grades for their children Accra (Greater Accra) 16 March 2005- The TINKERING and fixing of grades at the University of Ghana, Legon as contained in the report of the Mfodwo Committee of enquiry established by the university authorities, appears to be widespread with a revelation that the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Prof Edward Ofori-Sarpong, also solicited support for his daughter. Prof. Ofori-Sarpong is said to have approach Prof Clara Fayorsey, Head of Department of sociology to review the mark awarded to his daughter, a Sociology student in SOCI 302: Population Studies. But the six member committee, chaired by Stephen Bekoe Mfodwo a retired deputy Registrar, Academic Affairs, set up to look into the widespread leakages in the last semester examination, which led to the cancellation of some papers, said the intervention of the pro-vice chancellor, on behalf of his daughter unwarranted. The committee's report has already sparked off controversy. According to Prof Fayorsey, she received a call from the Pro-Vice Chancellor, complaining that the mark awarded to his daughter in SOCI 312 could frustrate the classification that otherwise was within her reach. She subsequently acceded to the request of Prof. Ofori-Sarpong and reviewed the said paper, only that the review did not push her as expected. “The paper was reviewed to discover that a couple of sub-questions asking for definitions had not been awarded marks. The new total, a four marks added changed the original 'D' to 'C' but did not bring the candidate to the classification desired for the daughter”, the report said. However, the Head of sociology Department conceded that the procedure for the review for the Pro VC's daughter fell short of the university requirement for a formal application from an aggrieved student, having problems with marks. Explaining his interventions, in SOCI 312, Pro-Vice Chancellor who inaugurated the committee said, his call to the HOD was a result of anxiety to arrest widespread complaint that students who wrote the paper including his daughter had been awarded grades without the script being marked. “Given requirement for aggrieved students to submit formal application and to pay a stipulated fee, his intervention was unwarranted,” the committee stated. Putting submissions of the Pro-Vice Chancellor and HOD together, the committee indicated Prof Ofori-Sarpong for meddling in issues beyond his schedule and breached the university rules and regulations. “He intervened in the examination process to request for his daughter, a review of SOCI 312: Population Studies. As he could not be unaware of the regulations requiring any student requesting a review to a formal application and pay the stipulate fee, his intervention was unwarranted, the committee insisted. The committee also chastised Prof Fayorsey for carrying out the directive of the Pro-VC which Otherwise she should have turned down out rightly. “Ignoring approved procedure, and while not the examination, she proceeded at the instance of the Pro-Vice Chancellor to review SOCI 312 for his daughter, Sociology Major”, the report said. According to the committee, the evidence before it showed that the remarking of SOCI 312 for the Pro VC's daughter was at the instance of Prof. Ofori-Sarpong and moreover, it was verbal with the daughter paying no fees. The committee explained that the Pro VC acted improperly because application for review ought to have been directed to the Registrar upon the payment of a fee. “Previously, the application had to come in writing accompanied by a stipulated fee to the Vice Chancellor, for his review for the prima facie case. “The regulations provided also for remarking, once authorized, to extend to the rest of the script for the reason that a mistake in one script could have been made also in the others “Because the case of the remarking that extends to others is not easily made, remarking use to be seldom. “The application for review is no longer subjected to the determination for prima facie case. But with large numbers, mistakes in marking must be common, therefore requiring expeditious handling. “The regulations have also changed. But there is still a requirement for an application by the student to come to the Registrar and a fee to be paid. The regulations excluded applications by third parties. The evidence before the committee showed that remarking of SOCI 312 for the Pro Vice Chancellor's daughter was at the instance of the Pro Vice Chancellor, and it was verbal at that. The daughter did not have to write or pay any fee” the committee observed. However, since the leaked report of the committee set up by the vice chancellor to look into the widespread leakages of question paper in the university's last semester examination was published, the publication have unsettled the authorities of the school. It is learnt that the anxiety publications have generated forced the authorities into crises meeting As at press time, the university management was holed up in a meeting to address how to handle the explosive scandal, which if not well handled, may cause damage to the integrity and reputation of Ghana's premier university. The committee report indicated a number of people including the son of the Vice Chancellor, Kwadwo Tabiri Asenso –Okyere popularly called KT who was said to have spearheaded the leakage. KT, according to the report was responsible for the leakage of four papers, which he sold variously between ¢300,000 to ¢1 million to his clients mostly foreign student from Nigeria stock and their noveau riche Ghanaian counterparts. Kwadwo Tabiri Asenso –Okyere, also got his poor grades in Philosophy 204 changed from 'F' to 'B' after two attempt and rewarded with 'A-' in PHIL 306, for an examination he did not sit at all. These obvious good grades were earned courtesy of Prof. Agyeman, Head of Department of Philosophy who admitted writing to the Academic Affairs Directorate. Prof Ofori-Sarpong told Citi FM, an Accra based private radio station that the university has not yet studied the report submitted by the committee and that it was still investigating the content of the damning report. Scandal rocks Legon (Part 2) Accra (Greater Accra) 16 March 2005-Kwadow Tabiri Asenso-Okyere, the son of the vice- chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Kwadow Asenso-Okyere, who is at the centre of the university's examination leakage, also got his poor grades substituted with better ones. According to report of the Committee of Enquiry, established to look into the examination scandal, Kwadow Tabiri Asenso-Okyere, popularly called KT, allegedly got Prof. Kwasi Agyeman, Head of Department ( HOD) of Philosophy to allegedly fix grades for him, even in paper he did not sit. KT who is reported to be known at the philosophy department as the “son” of the HOD, got his “F' grade substituted with “B” in PHIL 204, after two attempts, and also got “A-” in PHIL 306,paper he did not write at all. The committee was puzzled about the revelation of grade substitution, deepening the suspicion about a umber of the grades bandied about by students. Prof. Agyeman who is also the board chairman of the National Service Secretariat, admitted that he facilitated the fixing of KT'S grades. He, however, indicated he was misled by the staff who told him a different story. The attention of committee was drawn to the rot at the Philosophy Department by Prince Charles Walker, one of the brains behind the leakage when he appeared before it that with a paltry ¢100,000, one can smile home with a better grade. According to Prince Walker, he has learnt about another person in the department of philosophy who is able to change grades for as low as ¢100,000. A senior lecturer in the Department, Dr. Helen Lauer also hinted the committee about the irregularities at the department, where lecturers allow all manners of people to collate examination marks. According to Dr. Lauer, her colleagues in the department believe that collating of examination marks can be done by, even, a gardener, citing a situation where Kingsley Arthur, a messenger, was seen, several times, transferring marks for scripts to mark sheets. However, when Prof Agyeman was asked, he claimed it was news to him. Prof.. Agyeman later conceded to the pervasive rot and irregularities in the department. Please, read the excerpts of the report on the philosophy department Grade Substitution Department of Philosophy Allegations of grade manipulation first came to notice from a letter by a certain Courage Zuma, among the documentation and available to the committee. In his testimony, Prince Charles Walker repeated the allegation, suggesting that in the Department of philosophy, the fee could be as low as ¢100,000. Interviewed, the Head of Department of philosophy and two others of the department denied the possibility. The Head of Department maintain that marketing and transfer of grades to the marks sheet for submission to the Academic Affairs Directorate remained the undelegated responsibility of the academic staff of the department. The junior staff said their contact with the examining process was limited to receiving complaints of missing marks and looking for scripts for viewed, if so directed, by the Head of Department. On the other hand, Dr.Helen Lauer earlier interviewed, was emphatic that excepting her own papers, transfer of marks from scripts to the marked sheet is often le to one of the junior staff (Arthur), but she would vouch for Arthur's integrity any day. The committee finds it disturbing that complaints for missing marks should be routed through the secretary, the more disturbing that the search for scripts proceeds ahead of a check with the Attendance List. The committee found intriguing subsequent developments, mainly to do with correspondence dated 4 December 2004 and 25 January 2005 that the Registrar brought to its attention on Thursday, 10 February 2005.Addressed to the Ag Director, Academic Affairs Directorate, the correspondence of 4 December 2004 sought to report missing grades, now to be made good: Candidate 10028811 PHIL 204 B PHIL 306 A- The response from the Ag Director, Academic Affairs, was a query, the Head of Department to provide explanation why PHIL 204 previously graded “F” should change ;B; or why PHIL 306 which previously had no mark now should have an “A” While awaiting explanation, speculation in the committee was that the letter purporting to come from the Head of Department could be a forgery, because the grammar was suspect (“affected” for effected;) while “PhD” (sic) against the signature of the Head of Department had a full stop in the in the wrong place. Besides, the letter had no reference number. The forged letter, if indeed so, would confirm the view of Dr. Helen Lauer that Junior staffs in the Department have a more involved role in the processing of grades than the Head of Department knows or is prepared to admit. Interviewed, Wednesday, 16 February 2005, KT said he knew about grade substitution in the Department of philosophy. His friend “Pabio” (George Opare Addo) had told him he sends list of names of students requiring changes to their grades and for a fee “Kingsley” would do it. He himself, KT, had had occasion to use “Kingsley's services. The first time was while he was at Level 200 and lately in connection with PHIL 204 twice, earning a “D” and an “F”, he (KT) asked assistance from Kingsley. PHIL 306 Was the paper he failed to write for which he still wanted a grade. He did not know if “Kingsley” had effected the change, maybe not, because ha heard from the department that the letter to effect the change had been queried from the Academic Affairs Directorate. In response to how “Kingsley” could effect grade change. KT said “Kingsley” clients knew he compiles grades for the department and so could effect changes while so engaged, where the mark sheet has already left the department, he could initiate action to advise specific changes or supply of missing grades. KT said between him and Kingsley payment for services were in the form of gifts. He once provided him a mobile phone. Responding Wednesday 17 February 2005, to the transcript of KT's story, Kingsley Arthur admitted having received a mobile phone from KT, but denied the latter wag a client, as he has never had to change any grades for him. He could however, recall fetching the scripts of PHIL 204 and 306 for the Head of Department on the latter's directive. Subsequently, he heard from the Secretary that fresh grades were to be submitted for KT. Mrs. Anastasia Annorbah (Administrative Assistance/ Secretary) who appeared with Kingsley Arthur, Wednesday 17 February 2005, admitted typing the letter from the department to effect grade change for Candidate 10082811. She acted on instructions by the head of department. As not all transactions respecting grade change are on file, she was not sure the files would throw any light on mater. The query from the Academic Affairs Directorate was not available on file, as it never arrived. The Head of Department of Philosophy, Thursday 17 February 2005 surprised the committee when he acknowledged the letter from the department to be authentic; the signature was his, the content familiar. He said he acted on the wrong information by his staff who told him missing grade was the problem. Why had he not responded to the query from the Academic Affairs Directorate? He never saw it. Granted that the department staff misrepresented things to the Head or the t missing grades needing to be made good was the problem, where the new grades came from remains unresolved. The credible response must have to refer to the processed request by the candidate for are view, the original Mark Sheets for PHIL 204 and 306, with annotation showing who advised or directed action to be taken. The scripts involved must be tendered. There must be evidence also of the consultation with the Examiner(s) concerned to arrive at fresh grades. Meanwhile, told what the Head of Department had come to say, Kingsley Arthur now provided to the Committee the information which, if true, deepens the puzzle. He said KT regularly comes to see the Head of Department who has introduced him to the department as his 'son.' It was after one such visit that the Head of Department fetched new grades for PHIL 204 and 306. In an undated letter subsequently received (Monday 21 February 2005), he writes, “I know that the Head of Department did change the grade for Asenso-Okyere,” thereby disclaiming any initiative on the part of the departmental staff. TRANSCRIPT OF ACADEMIC RECORD The Head of Records and Management Information Directorate (Alfred Quartey) told the Committee (24:01:05) of an occasion when somebody tried to superimpose new grades on what obtained already for a student who had asked for transcripts. The Committee does not know any more about transcripts than as told it by the Head of Management Information System, but it is worth reporting as a finding, malpractice in its latest manifestation, the disaster waiting to happen. Instead of going to so much trouble to procure questions to study for an uncertain outcome, what could be easier than buying the fancied grade where grades are kept? Scandal rocks Legon (Part 1) Accra (Greater Accra) 16 March 2005 -Ghana's premier university, University of Ghana, Legon, is on the tenterhooks of massive scandal. A committee set up by the Vice- Chancellor, Prof Kwadow Asenso- Okyere, following reports of examination leakages during the last semester examinations, has completed its assignment with damning, finings tracing most of the leakages to Kwadow Tabiri Asenso Okyere, son of the Vice-chancellor. Kwadow Tabiri Asenso Okyere, popularly called KT was said to have procured a number of examination papers at a cost of?¢300,000 , each, from his accomplices, and sold them between ¢300,000 and ¢1,000,000 million. The revealing report did not only touch on students' involvement in examination malpractices, but also the connivance of principal officers of the university, including, heads of department in fixing results. Kwaku Tabiri, a level 400 student, studying Political Science major, report said has gained notoriety in buying question papers. “ Before 2004/2005, Dela Agboletey (examination attendant), and Kwadow Tabiri Asenso- Okyere , level 300 student, were in a deal, where for a fee, the former supplied the latter with examination papers ahead of time”, the committee said in its report, dated 3 March 2005. The university is yet to comment on the report. When 'Daily Guide', contacted Ms Mavis Adotey, Assistant Registrar, Public Affairs Directorate, on Saturday Ms Mavis Adotey who was surprised that Daily Guide has the report, though the committee was still sitting. The six –member committee chaired by Stephen Bekoe Mfodwo, veteran university administrator, and retired deputy registrar, Academic Affairs of University was inaugurated by the Pro- Vice Chancellor, Prof Edward Ofori Sarpong on 22 December 2004 at end of the troubled first semester. Other members of the committee are Daniel Afedzi Acheampong, a retired Professor of Mathematics, and former Pro Vice Chancellor, Godwin Kwaku Nukunya, retired Professor Sociology and Pro –Vice- Chancellor, Samuel Isaac Kwasi Odoo, retired Associate Professor o mathematics, George Francis Daniel Jnr. Retired Registrar and Kojo Kpelie, Assistant Registrar, Human Resource and Organisational Development Director and secretary to the committee. The vice- chancelllor's son admitted before the committee that he struck the first deal with Dela Agboletey in the first semester of the 2003/2004 academic year when he secured advance copies of question papers from the quarantine centre. After the 2003/2004 session, Dela gained admission to the University, and subsequently introduced KT to Alex Ayettey, another examination attendant, to continue with the business. Having struck a new deal with Ayettey, Kwadow Tabiri requested eight papers in the last semester's examination, and according to him, succeeded in securing four at the cost of ¢1.7million. KT's negotiation with Alex Ayettey, the report indicated, was concluded in his Commonwealth Hall room (C41) in the presence of Dela Agboletey, Evans Donkor, another examination attendant, and Ransford Buah, a friend to them. All of the are friends and resident on campus. After successfully striking the deal, KT made the ¢1.7million payments in three instalments of ¢1million, ¢500,000 and ¢200,000 FOR disbursement at ¢800,000, each to Alex and Evans Donkor and ¢100,000 to Ransford Baah. “The papers were in each case, passed on to KT, as he waited at an agreed rendezvous at the North- West part of the Great Hall. The transmission was through the wooden grill in the outer wall of the basement.” “The committee was taken to the spot by KT, where it was found that any paper wrapped around a heavy object could pass through the grill to waiting hands. “The committee found that Dela Agboletey, Alex Ayettey, Evans Donkor and Ransford Buah lived with their parents at Staff Village. They had been pupils at the University Primary School, where they had become friends with others like KT, also campus children.” “They all worship at the Catholic Church, on campus. They had been recruited to be examination attendants for being campus children, ” the committee pointed out. Curiously, all the subjects received were for level 200 science students battling to be selected for medical and other professional courses. The committee was, therefore, of the opinion that the leakages were for nothing, but pecuniary considerations. The courses are Introductory Animal Biology (BIOL 203); Biological Foundations of Behaviour (PSYC203);Vertebrae Anatomy (BIOL 205) and Properties of Matter and Vibrational Motion (PHYS 203). According to KT, he gave some of the papers to some of his friends and sold the rest between ¢300,000 and ¢1million. The committee stated that 13 papers were reported to have been leaked, but it was able to confirm six, of which the VC's son was responsible for four. The two other papers were traced to Prince Charles Walker, a level 400 Sociology student, who was caught with Social Anthropology (SOC14O1), in his pocket. Prince Charles was introduced by KT to Alex Ayettey, from whom he procured two papers at ¢ 500,000 each, including SOCI 401 AND PSYC 2003. The lid on the examination fraud was blown open when Robert Kwafo, a level 200 Psychology student was caught with answered question paper on PSYC 203, at the Balme Library Annex examination centre. He had apparently gone to the examination centre with answered papers, hoping to substitute them with the fresh paper for day. However, luck ran out for him, when he was caught by the invigilator, in the toilet, before the substitution could be effected. His arrest led to the chain of events which included the arrest of Prince Charles Walker who gave the question to Robert Kwafo. A search conducted on Prince Charles at Legon Police Station, revealed Social Anthropology examination paper on him. The VC's son confessed to have assisted 34 students to procure examination papers. Among his clientele were foreign students, mostly Nigerians and local students, with heavy doses of cash to spend. “Many of them share a common life- style. They are fairly well off. As the committee learnt, Geoge Opare Addo for instance, uses a BMW, runs travel agency on campus, and sells mobile phones. “Eric Attuah who also sells mobile phones, has a noticeable car, with a customized registration plate. Various others on the list run cars on campus. These students are regular at the fun places, on and off campus. They take off without permission some times for days” the report noted. However, the involvement of the vice- chancellor's son in the procurement of examination papers was known to some principal officers of the university. According to Michael Emeka Aseme, a client of KT, Mr. T. Tabi acting director of Academic Affairs, once invited him and KT to his office, and cautioned them in connection with examination leakages. Chastising the conduct of Tabi, the committee noted: “Although not the appointed tutor, or academic counsellor to Kwadow Tabiri Asenso- Okyere, he took it upon himself to counsel him on among other things, missing grades in Philosophy, to make good [in] his own testimony ''.

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