MASERU — A National University of Lesotho (NUL) lecturer briefly appeared in court last week to answer a charge of corruption after he allegedly solicited bribes from students to tamper with their academic results.
Thuso Rabele, a social sciences lecturer, is out on M500 bail.
The crown alleges Rabele, 40, last June received bribes and promised to falsify students’ results to make them pass.
It is alleged that Rabele received a M1 000 bribe from a social sciences student, Litšoanelo Masoebe, with a promise that he would alter her marks to a pass despite the fact that she had flunked her exams.
On the second count Rabele is said to have received a M2 000 bribe from Morongoe Lichaba after promising her that he would also tweak her exam results.
“Rabele had asked students to give him M1 000 and M2 000 in exchange for them to pass their examinations,” Masupha Masupha, the police spokesperson, said.
Rabele’s arrest comes barely five months after the police began investigations at NUL following allegations that lecturers were tampering with students’ results.
Under investigation were some officials who were accused of getting bribes from students to change grades.
For instance, it was alleged a student with a “C” would pay a bribe for his grade to be changed to an “A”.
The police interviewed a number of officials but the results of that investigation have not been made public.
NUL Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Mafa Sejanamane, who is in charge of the academic programme, confirmed the investigation last year.
“We have reported allegations of the fraudulent manipulation of students’ records but that is all I can say at the moment,” Sejanamane said then.
The investigation reportedly started after heads of departments and deans at the troubled university noticed discrepancies between the results on some students’ exam scripts and those presented to the Senate.
Two months after that NUL unearthed an elaborate fraud case in which a student was awarded a degree she did not deserve.
Professor Sejanamane told a special senate meeting that it was “one of the most elaborate fraud cases on the university system”.
The student at the centre of the investigation was Likhabiso Patience Phamotse who was capped by NUL chancellor King Letsie III on October 27 for a degree in education.
Phamotse, whose mother taught theology in the Faculty of Humanities, graduated after she obtained an urgent High Court order compelling the university to grant her the degree.
This was despite that Phamotse had failed six subjects, according to a report seen by the Lesotho Times.
The report said Phamotse enrolled with the Faculty of Humanities in the 2008/2009 academic year. Her main courses were Philosophy and History.
However, during her third year Phamotse transferred to the Faculty of Education.
Preliminary internal checks, according to the report, had revealed that the Faculty of Education did not have her transfer letter and the academic office also failed to locate her student file.
It was revealed that Phamotse did not do and pass any education course.
She did not do teaching subjects in second year.
She failed Statistics (ST 1381) but the marks were later changed in the ITS system to a pass even though she had not supplemented the subject.
She failed English (EL 304) but the marks were changed to a pass.
She failed education course, LED 325, but the marks were changed to a pass.
She failed another education course, LED 362, but the marks were changed to a pass.
The Faculty of Education recommended that Phamotse should repeat two other courses, EDF 223 and EL 314.
Only last week NUL again hogged the limelight for the wrong reasons when 12 students appeared before the Maseru Magistrates’ Court charged with fraud.
The students, five female and seven males, are accused of producing fake Cambridge Overseas School Certificates to gain entry into the university.
They were accused of using the same certificates to obtain loans totalling M11 182.50 each from the National Manpower Development Secretariat.
The accused were granted M500 bail each and will be back in court on February 6.