SEMBABULE. Sembabule District Service Commission has terminated the contracts of 64 teachers for allegedly forging academic papers and appointment letters.
Seventeen of these are primary school teachers who were found with fake academic papers, while 47 are secondary teachers found with forged appointment letters.
Mr Sulait Ssebbowa, the service commission chairperson, yesterday confirmed the dismissal of the teachers but declined to reveal their names, saying they were first summoned before the probe committee where they failed to defend their papers. He said some of the dismissed teachers admitted to accessing the district payroll through dubious means.
Mr Paul Bwana Nantamu, the district education officer, said authorities have resolved to ask all teachers in the district to submit certified copies of their academic papers which will be forwarded to the Ministry of Education for verification before they are paid this month’s salary.
Mr Bwana added that the teachers could have used the weakness and laxity by the previous service commission to dubiously access the payroll, saying it will require the district at least two months to clean up the payroll.
Asked about the fate of the sacked teachers, Mr Bwana said their files will be forwarded to the responsible authorities for appropriate action.
However, Mawogola South Member of Parliament Joseph Kitayimbwa Ssekabiito challenged education authorities in the district to extend the exercise beyond hunting for unqualified teachers but to also crack the whip on corrupt officers who helped them penetrate the system.
Mr Henry Baguma, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), said he had instructed police to record statements from the affected teachers to aide in further investigations.
Besides the unqualified teachers, Mr Baguma said police will also investigate ghost teachers who draw monthly salaries yet they don’t report to school. He cited Kawanda SS in Migwala Sub-county, which currently has only seven teachers out of the 17 that are indicated on their staff register.
Mr Patrick Muhwezi, the head teacher Kawanda SS, said it’s true his school has ghost teachers, but he never knew about it.
He, however, put the blame on district officials, saying they have never shared a list showing the number of teachers posted to each school in the district. “So we really do not know who put these teachers on the payroll,” he said.
In 2012, the district conducted a clean-up exercise of its payroll in which a total of 487 ghost teachers appeared on registers of six secondary schools and 42 primary schools in the district were deleted.