Two police officers have been arrested in Kilifi County for allegedly leaking the ongoing Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations.
According to Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, 14 teachers and 79 students have also been seized in various parts of the country and charged in court.
Prof Kaimenyi said the police officers had unsealed the examination papers and were photographing them using their phones.
The officers’ intention, he said, was to later send the leaked exam questions using a mobile phone application, WhatsApp.
Prof Kaimenyi was defending the Education ministry against accusations that it had failed to stem the exam leakage.
He was appearing before the National Assembly’s Education Committee on Tuesday.
“One parent has also been arrested for sending question to his son,” said Prof Kaimenyi, who strongly defended the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) from accusations that it had failed in its mandate.
His revelations tally with those of the parliamentary Education Committee chairman, Ms Sabina Wanjiru Chege, who has blamed the police for the massive leakage of national examinations.
However, police spokesman Charles Owino denied the claims that officers were involved in the leakage.
While being asked to explain how the leakage of the ongoing KCSE examination was happening, Prof Kaimenyi said the ministry was doing its best to tackle any attempted fraud.
“Any invigilator who will be found colluding will be punished, parents and everybody else should also know that it is criminal to engage in such an activity,” he said, blaming the media for “exaggerating” the leakage issue.
Kibra MP Ken Okoth wondered why the ministry or Knec could not provide any documents to the committee, indicating the punishment meted on those involved in exam cheating in the past.
“The minister did appear before this committee sometime back and assured us that they were capable of handling this examination process … they have failed,” he said.
He said invigilators who have aided students to cheat in the past should be struck off the Teachers Service Commission’s register.
The MP, who is a member of the committee, asked Knec to consider hiring private security firms to help transport examinations to various parts of the country to stop leakages.
He said with Sh4 billion given to the examinations council, there was no sufficient reason Knec should fail to stem the problem.
Ms Chege wondered why Knec had not sought help from the cybercrime unit, seeing that the alleged leaked exam material was being passed on using social media.
“I want to know the extent to which you have gone to establish the source of the WhatsApp messages,” she added.
She ordered Knec to present a detailed report on the alleged leakage in two days.
Ms Catherine Maina, a Knec official who was also before the committee, defended the institution, saying it had done its best to stem exam cheating.
She said the packaging of the examination papers is done by a team of at least 10 people while students are among witnesses when the question papers are unsealed at various examination centres.