Makerere University has suspended a senior lecturer for reportedly mishandling students results. Dr James Wokadala is accused of hiring David Opiro, a former Teaching Assistant at the university, and irregularly giving him students scripts. The affected students, numbering about 200, are due to graduate on February 21.
The affected students, numbering about 200, are due to graduate on February 21.
In a letter dated January 30, 2017, the Vice Chancellor, Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu suspended Dr James Wokadala with immediate effect.
Wokadala is accused of hiring David Opiro, a former Teaching Assistant at the university, and irregularly giving him students' scripts. Dr. Wodala heads the Department of Planning and Applied Statistics in the College of Business and Management Sciences.
Ddumba wants the scripts retrieved from Opiro and delivered to the vice chancellor's office by midday on Thursday February 2, 2017. Dr Wodala met the Appointments Board on Monday and reportedly failed to explain why he failed to retrieve the said results from Opiro, prompting the vice chancellor to suspend him.
"I have decided to suspend you immediately. Should you manage to retrieve students' scripts from Mr. Opiro by Mid-day Thursday 2nd February 2017 and bring them to my office, this suspension will be accordingly lifted," reads part of Prof. Ddumba's letter.
Prof. Ddumba adds that in the event that scripts and marks are not recovered, the affected students shall be given another examination on Friday February 3 which will be marked the same day to enable students graduate on time.
Students doing Bachelor of Science in Business Statistics reported that for close to a year now Opiro refused to release their results for the course unit Fundamentals of Marketing, Code BBS 3208.
Shortly after the 2016/2017 academic year started in August last year, some students in the School of Statistics and Planning staged a demonstration over missing marks. When the University authorities followed up the matter, they established that Mr. David Opiro had not submitted scripts, and as such, the affected students did not have complete results.
The College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) reported the matter to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu.
On Wednesday January 25, 2017, the Vice Chancellor called the representatives of the students from Statistics and informed the affected students that the matter had reached his office and it was being handled.
Yesterday, according to the university's Senior Publicist Ritah Namisango, the matter was discussed by the Makerere University Appointments Board. "With respect to that meeting, the Vice Chancellor wrote to Dr. James Wokadala suspending him from the University Service."
David Opiro has been a teaching assistant on contract basis since 2009. While his contract expired on June 30th last year, Opiro says he has not been paid his arrears dating back to February.
Technically, Opiro ceased being an employee of the university when his contract expired on June 30, 2016, though he was still a member of staff when he taught the paper between February and May 2016. Since Opiro could not be suspended, the university turned to Dr. James Wokadala because he had apparently failed to retrieve marks from Opiro.
"The reason why we could not suspend Opiro is that he is no longer a staff at Makerere University. He was an assistant contractual lecturer whose contract ended last year in June," one university official from Human Resource Department said.
The official added: "Opiro has been complaining that he was not paid his February salary which we are now crosschecking. But he was paid."
The university secretary could not be reached for a comment to confirm the payment as he was not picking his phone. However, Prof. Elia Hisali, the CoBAMS Principal told URN that the arrears were for a period of February to June 2016.
"I am not very sure of how much but from the correspondents I have received from what he wrote, he was demanding salary from February up to June of 2016," Prof. Hisali said in a phone interview.