A veteran lecturer whose greed exposed his long-kept shady academic secrets is on the verge of becoming a certified academic dwarf at the level of a Primary 7 dwarf.
David Onume alias Peter Agole’s goose was cooked after Kyambogo University — after years of shocking hesitation — began proceedings which may lead him to lose academic qualifications which he attained after using another person’s UCE certificate.
Recently on this mighty website, we reported how David Onume, a native of Bala village in present day Kole district dropped out of school at Comboni College- Lira in Senior Two in 1989 and left his classmate Peter Agole to complete S.4 at the same school. And following failed attempts at fishing and fish mongering at both Namasale and Nambyeso landing sites on L. Kyoga and Kwania respectively, Onume borrowed Agole’s UCE certificate and stormed Kampala city in 1994, subsequently landing an askari’s job at the then Uganda Polytechnic Kyambogo (UPK). Onume then rode on the same certificate to enroll for a certificate, diploma and bachelor’s degree in Mechanical engineering at Kyambogo University.
As we speak now, Agole (Onume) is seeking to retire early from Kyambogo University where he serves as a lecturer, having acquired a Master’s degree in Pedagogy at the same institution.
However, his attempts have hit a dead end as the university wants him to first settle queries of uttering false documents to acquire a job which has seen him unfairly earn millions of taxpayers’ money since 1994 to date. Essentially, this has put Onume on the verge of losing all academic papers he unscrupulously acquired using Peter Agole’s UCE certificate.
THE Fateful Greed
According to very reliable sources, Onume had successfully kept his academics secret hidden, with only those in his inner circle aware of his educational ineptness. Those close to him reveal that save for his sometimes broken English, Onume established himself as a very active and suave senior technician at Kyambogo University’s Mechanical & Production Engineering department, making it nearly impossible for anyone to suspect that his academic qualifications were just a slight upgrade from those of “Nasser Road University”.
However, it would take his own greed and betrayal of his close friend Solomon Ongora for him to learn that just because the water is calm, it is a mistake to think that there are no crocodiles.
Sources say that while undertaking a Master’s degree course in Environmental Science, Ongora’s research work led him to discover that the smoke from many of Uganda’s hard wood species including bamboo and shear tree contain medicinal properties and are used as a base reagent for some of the world’s most potent drugs by powerful pharmaceutical giants in Europe and China. Sources say that upon discovering how to extract this concentrate, he presented his findings to his bosses at Kyambogo University to fund and own this new groundbreaking project but they ignored him. The snub he received made him divert the project to Makerere University, where it was fully embraced and at one time it was even able to attract donor funding of up to Shs30bn.
We have learnt that upon getting approval from the Uganda Pharmaceutical Association which was being headed by Dr. Ogwang of the Covidex fame in 2016, Ongora began producing the concentrate under the Liquid Smoke brand. But this production coincided with him getting a job as a part time lecturer at Uganda Petroleum Institute in Kigumba. Sources say that due to a hectic work schedule and a growing list of customers, Ongora co-opted fellow Langi Peter Agole (David Onume) to help him with the supply and marketing of the liquid smoke.
The Bitter Fallout
Unknown to him, Onume had not only changed in name but also character. This was soon proved by Ongora when he received a 4-months scholarship to study oil-related mechanical works in Trinidad & Tobago. It is then that he left the liquid smoke project under the care of Onume (Agole). But within that short absence of Ongora, Onume contacted Kyambogo University head of mechanical engineering & production department, Dr. Eng. Titus Bitek Watmon and convinced him to team up with him to take over Ongora’s project because “it had a lot of idle billions in it”.
Indeed, Watmon agreed and even presented the project to Kyambogo Vice Chancellor Eli Katunnguka as Agole’s project.
Upon returning, Ongora received a shocking cold shoulder from his old friend Onume and not even his incessant loud protests to him and the university could earn him justice. Before long, the injustice against Ongora heightened when Watmon started going to science conferences to present Ongora’s research (project as his own). Records available reveal that on one such conference, Watmon led a delegation including the VC Katunguka to represent Kyambogo University in Nairobi.
Court Case Begins
It is said that having run out of patience, a frustrated Ongora officially wrote a protest letter to the university administration. He was however ignored by the administration— which by then was minting millions of allowances from trips related to the project. But to prove his point, he elaborated how it was impossible for Onume, an S2 dropout but who was riding on Peter Agole’s UCE certificate to be able to originate such a sophisticated project! Indeed, he would be vindicated when investigations showed that Agole (Enume) was an average student and there was evidence that he had been assisted by his colleagues to pass many exams which he sat. For instance, it was discovered that a one Paul Bogere had earlier on officially complained to the university authorities how Agole simply plagiarized another student’s Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering research project by simply changing only his name and index number. Ongora thus bemoaned that it was unfair for proven academicians like Dr. Watmon to accept to be used by a Senior Two dropout to mete injustice against him. It has emerged that the claim infuriated Watmon who felt defamed by a “jealous” Ongora. He subsequently dragged Ongora to court over defamation.
ONUME LEFT BARE!
This suit, however, turned into the worst curse to ever happen to Onume because through the ensuing evidence court demanded for the defamation case defence, Onume’s shady academic history was unearthed.
Onume’s woes in this regard began on December 6, 2019 when the Lira Chief Magistrate’s Court ordered Comboni College Lira to provide the academic documents of both Onume David and Peter Agole. As per the order, the school was supposed to provide records for these two former students who were at the school between 1988 and 1991 and sat UCE in December 1991.
“It is hereby ordered that:… Comboni College specifically releases photographs used for Uganda national education board registration for Mr. Agole Peter holder of UNEB certificate index no. U0012/022 serial number U290530, plus name of parents/guardians and district, Sub County, parish and village of origin of the said Agole peter as per the registration form in the custody of Comboni College,” the magistrate’s order reads in part.
And as requested, on December 18, 2019, Comboni College through the head teacher Okidi Phillips Canwa wrote to court providing the records as requested. However, Canwa told court that the only records the school had were those of Peter Agole.
“… the UNEB records available at the school for those candidates who sat UCE in 1991 confirm that indeed Agole Peter studied and registered as a school candidate of Comboni College in 1991 with index number U0012/022… there’s no record for Onume David anywhere in the document from UNEB for UCE 1991 at Comboni College- Lira,” Canwa wrote to court.
To also prove that there was no second Agole Peter in Uganda at the time, Ongora’s lawyers of Gumtwero & Co. Advocates wrote to Kyambogo College on march 16, 2021 asking the headmistress to provide records of the image and O Level certificate of the Agole Peter who sat A Level at their school in 1998, the same year another Agole Peter used the same O Level certificate to sit for Mechanical Engineering certificate exams at UPK.
ONUME, WATMON CONDEMNED TO MISERY
We have learnt that after all evidence was assessed, it was discovered by court that indeed Onume David did not sit for Level and was simply riding on Peter Agole’s certificate. Watmon hence lost the defamation case with costs as Ongora was found to have stated the truth which then would not amount to defamation.
The court loss was a very huge blow to Watmon, who sources say soon thereafter transferred his services to Busitema University. And with Onume left naked by the skeletons court unearthed from his academic closet, Kyambogo University woke up from slumber and commenced an administrative inquiry into his academic papers.
Consequently, the university’s appointments board tasked him to provide proof that the O Level certificate he uttered at the university to get a job and also to further his studies was indeed his.
It has emerged that once the heat became too much for Agole, he applied for sick leave in a bid to unshackle himself from the brewing scandal. However, on March 1, 2022, Agole (Onume), after realizing that he had flouted public service regulations on sick leave, asked for early retirement. In his letter to Richard K Manano, the University HRM Director, Agole stated that his doctors had advised him to retire because his lungs were filled with water and therefore he was too weak to continue working. However, on March 7, 2022, Manano replied to Agole telling him that he could not be accorded early retirement but rather retirement on medical grounds since he claimed that he was too sick to continue working.
He also revealed to him that the Board suspected that he was using the retirement issue as a ploy to escape consequences of uttering false documents contrary to the university’s laws and Uganda constitution. He thus advised him to first dispose of the case before the appointments board regarding his questionable academic document.
“However, your request to retire on medical grounds has come at the time the appointments board directed that the authenticity of your UCE index No. U0012/036 be established. As such, your request will be considered alongside the appointment board’s directive,” Manano wrote. He added: “The board will be interested to know that your request to retire on medical rounds is not an attempt to avoid the investigation against you for alleged gross misconduct.”
Manano further warned Agole that should it be found that he uttered another person’s certificate, he was due for disciplinary process in accordance with: Regulation 11.22.1 relating to forgery, falsifying/presenting false documents and or records for the purpose of disseminating wrong information, obtaining money or reward or favour and 11.22.(i) and (ii) falsification of records or documents.
Somehow however, Agole did not heed the university’s demand. This forced Manano to write to him again on March 31, 2022 reminding him to comply as earlier directed.
“…be informed that the Appointments Board has again directed that you should provide the required proof within the stipulated time(14 days) and failure to do so, your salary will be withheld 21 days after the lapse of the deadline stipulated in this letter,” Manano warned Agole.
ONUME’S SCARY FATE
By press time, Onume was still buying time but all indications are that with the university’s hands tied on how to help him circumvent the law, he may have to make way.
The bad news is that once adjudged by the university to have used Agole’s UCE certificate, it will be cancelled and hence will the university recall all the subsequent qualifications he got by virtue of the fake certificate.
And with Onume having dropped out of school in S2, it means the only genuine certificate he will have to his name is a PLE certificate thus officially reducing the now Master’s graduate to a P7 dropout!
Unfortunately for Onume, court precedent shows that High Court Justice Moses Kasule Kalanda had his academic qualifications recalled and he was subsequently debarred after he was discovered to have used O-Level results of a Zambian for admission to A-level at St. Bernard Kisowera.
Watch this space!!