It is game over for Kyambogo University’s academic papers forgery lord David Onume alias Peter Agole!
This follows a move by the government to stretch its long arm of the law to put an end to his scandal which has blighted the Banda-based tertiary institution for the past 28 years.
According to our highly reliable sources at Kyambogo, the Office of the IGG commenced investigations into Onume’s scam following a petition from a whistleblower who alerted this government watchdog on how Onume’s lucky streak has caused so much havoc within the university yet there was seemingly no willingness by the institution’s authorities to crack the whip on him despite their full knowledge that the man from Lango was riding on shady papers in an institution of academic repute!
Consequently, sources say, the IGG has since deployed his men who commenced investigations to put an end to the Onume/Agole legend once and for all.
“Already, officials from the IGG’s office have recorded statements with some administrators here and all that is left is for the man to pay for his sins,” a source intimated to us.
We have now also learnt that following the IGG’s interface with some of the Kyambogo administrators, the university has also now upped its own ante, with it glaringly evident that all processes to eject forgery lord David Onume/Peter Agole are in final stages.
Reports received by The Inspector show that even before getting documentary evidence of Onume’s academic fraud, suspicions over the same began showing in 1996, just two years after Onume got the askari job at the then Uganda polytechnic Kyambogo (UPK). Sources reveal that like any shrewd man, Onume at that time convinced his then bosses to employ his wife, Mrs. Onume Tino, as a cook for the mechanical engineering workshop staff. However, on top of the sweet meals she provided to staff, Tino added a suspicious twist to her stay at the workshop when she all of a sudden began referring to her husband as David as opposed to the Peter everyone else knew him to be.
This confusion of names would later make meaning to the Agole skeptics when, on sitting for the mechanical engineering certificate in 1998, Agole (onume) only managed to pass with a ‘PASS’ grade.
Ideally, this amounted to a major setback in his quest for a better life as it automatically quashed any hopes of him being promoted from guarding the mechanical department to being an academic employee there.
And sooner than later, Agole would quickly stare at this sad reality when Dr. Ssengonzi, the then head of the mechanical engineering department rejected his application for the post of Assistant Technician in the department. This was on grounds that UPK being an academic institution, it would be not only contemptuous but also poisonous to employ a technical assistant with a PASS certificate to pass on such ‘microscopic’ knowledge to future Ugandan mechanical engineers.
“He openly told him that much as he was a loyal servant (guard) at the department, it was impossible to hire him to such a ‘sensitive’ post. He however advised him to instead apply to be a workshop attendant (who is equivalent to a cleaner/messenger) because that was the only position which could be compassionately given to a person with a pass certificate,” our source said.
However, being a man with guts which can only be equated to the proverbial cat with nine lives, onume would quickly shock his ‘detractors’ when he circumvented this academic hurdle and attained the same position (of assistant technician), anyway. A story is told of how a few months after rightly refusing to employ Agole, Dr. Ssengonzi left for a study scholarship in Korea. He left his office in the stewardship of Musaazi Pascal. It is said that as soon as Musaazi landed in Ssengonzi’s office, Agole quickly befriended him. To this day no body at Kyambogo knows what he told the highly educated man of god but what is known is that he somehow confused him into appointing him assistant technician. And so shrewd was Onume’s move that by the time Sssengozi returned, the pass certificate holder had already been confirmed and approved in writing by the appointments board. And while observers thought Agole had only used his Pass certificate to upstage Ssengonzi, he extended this impunity to conquer all PhD holding administrators of the university who would, in subsequent years, simply look on like virgins hypnotized by puppy love as Agole used the certificate to upgrade to a diploma. Despite still getting a PASS diploma, he again used the same to scheme for promotion to the level of technician. The shocker, however, was that he miraculously used this pass diploma to be admitted for a mechanical engineering Bachelor’s degree in which he again scored a PASS grade. However, Agole the ‘miracle worker’ still used this pass degree to get promoted to Senior Technician and secure admission for a Masters in Pedagogy degree.
With his impunity now grown to unbreakable limits, Agole tried to push his luck harder to become a lecturer with this trail of ‘PASS’ grade qualifications. He however missed by a whisker after the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) intervened and ruled that there was no way such an academic dwarfism could teach future Ugandan engineers.
In comes the IGG
A source at the IGG’s office intimated to us that following a whistleblower’s complaint about Agole’s shady academic background, the IGG dispatched his men to the University to probe and verify the claims on file.
We have learnt that preliminary findings by the IGG’s office showed that save for the earlier speculation about Agole’s suspicious academic record, the university first officially received complaints about the same around 2015. However, it was shortly after that time that he came up with the idea of the lucrative Liquid Smoke multibillion project, which ended up blinding those that were supposed to reprimand him. In fact, any doubts about this shady track record was later erased in 2019 following the court proceedings of the defamation case which Dr. Titus Bitek Watmon filed against Solomon Ongora when the latter complained about the former conniving with a fraudulent Agole to steal his project. It should be remembered that during those proceedings, the court unearthed the genuine Agole, who came and testified that Onume was actually using his O Level certificate. Agole (original) told court that he never gave his certificate to Onume but somehow the man accessed the photocopy which he later used to go to UNEB and process a verification behind his back.
Ironically, all this evidence was copied to the university by the respondent (Ongora’s) lawyers.
It has emerged that upon getting all this evidence, the university still carried out a separate administrative probe where they facilitated a university staff with Shs1.4m to go to Onume’s home village and even Comboni College to get firsthand information. Incidentally, the university’s own investigator found the claims against Onume to be true but shockingly the university still did not sack the fraudulent worker.
In fact, before the defamation case was disposed of, court advised the warring parties to first seek the out-of court settlement and even appointed Vice chancellor prof. Eli Katunguka to mediate the process. However, he was rejected by Ongora’s team which opined that he would not be impartial since he had already been a beneficiary of the stolen liquid smoke project. Prof. Katunguka was accused of having been part of a delegation which went out of the country to present a paper on it.
Agole Skips Validation
The IGG’s team also discovered that despite the earlier indifference by the university authorities, a fresh chance to nab and flush out Agole dawned when the university called for a verification and validation exercise for all its staff.
As per stipulated guidelines, staff were required to present their original academic certificates for validation. However, it is said that Onume somehow got a sick leave around this time (in 2019). But by then the tem from the IGG was hot on his heels, which forced the university authorities to require him and other staff who were not physically on campus to present their credentials online.
“Onume knew that he couldn’t present questionable and suspicious papers so instead of presenting them as required, he abruptly surfaced with a letter asking for early retirement,” a source said.
It has however emerged that during that time the IGG’s team never interfaced with him because each time they went to quiz him they would find him absent; with his godfathers always stating that he was ‘sick’.
Ironically, records show that despite him being on sick leave, Onume somehow managed to secure a Stanbic Bank loan amounting to about Shs80m, fully guaranteed by the university. And also during that same sick leave period, Agole was advanced Shs13m by the university to reportedly aid him to undertake PhD studies at Eldoret University in Kenya. As per the university standing orders, lecturers wishing to undertake Phd studies are sponsored with up to Shs32m subject to minutes of approval of the same from the respective departmental and faculty boards. Sources however say that there are questions as to the existence of similar minutes in respect to the Shs13m which was advanced to Onume.
Current reports now show that following the pressure from the IGG, Kyambogo University, also basing on their internal probe, have finally cracked the whip on Agole.
“As we speak now, his salary was stopped with effect from March 2022,” a source said. As things stand now, Onume’s advantage is that he may likely have his loan burden completely shift to the university since his surety was the salary from the University. However, it is clear that his job is gone while the IGG is also bent on instituting legal means to make him repay all the money he has drawn from government coffers on account of fake academic papers.
He is also in line for prosecution by other government agencies NIRA and immigrations to which he uttered false names to get documents including the national ID and passport.
And once the legal proceedings come to fruition, Onume faces seven counts including forgery, deception, uttering false documents and fraudulent acquisition of public property (being the cumulative salary and allowances earned on forged certificates).
But together with Onume, other parties liable to litigation include Kyambogo University as well as Dr. Benson Okello; with the latter risking being accused of concealing and abetting crime. It should be remembered that Okello’s curious case stems from the fact that he personally supervised Agole’s master’s research and even aided him to pass yet being his cousin and Comboni College contemporary, he was well aware that the man dropped out of school in Senior 2 and thus never possessed any genuine O Level certificate. On a professional level, the good old prof also risks being internationally blacklisted for his primitive role in academic fraud involving David Onume alias peter Agole.
Watch this space!