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Teachers, Board Members Paying Cash Extorted During Recruitment

According to Alegan, who was the interim board chairperson, the list submitted to the ministry had gaps, especially for the teachers of science subjects. He adds that some of the teachers who were volunteering with the school before recruitment lacked the requisite qualifications.
Kadungulu Seed School also known as Kagwara Seed School in Serere district.

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The interim Board of Governors and the administration of Kadungulu Seed Secondary School in Serere district are struggling to pay back over Shillings 15 million extorted from teachers during recruitment.

Those implicated are the interim board chairperson, Amos Alegan, Headteacher, Robert Ogaram and his Deputy, Sharon Aluga among others. The group is reported to have hatched a plan in February last year to extort money from teachers who sought jobs in the school.

Kadungulu Seed Secondary School started operating in 2019 with volunteer teachers supported by parents. In 2021, the government announced the recruitment of teachers in Seed Schools across the country giving priority to the teachers in the schools. The Ministry of Education and Sports tasked the respective authorities tasked to submit details of the teachers for consideration.

Information obtained in Kadungulu indicates that the school operated with 16 staff including eight teachers, two administrators and six support staff. After submitting the list, the interim board members together with the administrators hatched a plan to send a supplementary list since the school had been allocated 31 slots for recruitment.

According to Alegan, who was the interim board chairperson, the list submitted to the ministry had gaps, especially for the teachers of science subjects. He adds that some of the teachers who were volunteering with the school before recruitment lacked the requisite qualifications.

Alegan notes that after receiving applications from 17 teachers that included relatives of some of the district officials, they resolved to charge each applicant some money to facilitate the submission of the supplementary list to Kampala.

“We were trying to solve a crisis. We were in need of teachers for all the subjects and the government had provided the funds but as a school, we didn’t have money to facilitate transport to Kampala. We decided that since the recruitment would benefit the applicants more, they should facilitate the process. Unfortunately, this opened room for extortion”, he said in a low tone.

Alegan said that the board delegated Sharon Aluga, who was the then caretaker headteacher to collect the money. “We realized that some people had paid up to Shillings 2.5 million. The least paid Shillings 400,000. Actually, some other teachers who were not initially on the list were included provided that they paid the price”, he continued.

In his narrative, Alegan said that their luck ran out when the Ministry failed to consider the supplementary list of teachers. He said that one of the teachers identified as Bartholomew Okweny reported the matter at Serere Central Police Station after failing to get the job. Okweny, who has since recieved his money, paid Shillings 2.5 million.

“I had rejected Okweny when he called but he used Sam Eluru (Kadungulu LC3 Chairperson) to be included on the supplementary list. Eluru is in love with Aluga, who was in charge of the finances. When I declined to take Okweny, he sought help from Eluru who fixed him at a cost”, he added.

Robert Ogaram, the headteacher of the school, says that they have so far refunded Shillings 5 million to Okweny, Chris Labu and Charles Olinga. Ogaram, who says that he sold cattle at home to raise the money, claims that he accepted to contribute to the refund of the money to save the image of the school and his job.

“I received a call from Eluru to go to Kabulabula Trading Centre to help Okweny fill the Public Service forms. After finishing the task, I was told by Eluru to take the forms and other items (in a paper bag) to madam Aluga’s house since she was in Kampala. It later emerged that the paper bag had the bribe for the job”, he said.

He added that when the matter came up to the police, he was also indicted for soliciting a bribe, forcing him to contribute to the refund. Both Ogaram and Alegan accuse the LC3 Chairperson of Kadungulu of manipulating Aluga into soliciting bribes. Eluru denied any involvement in the matter. He said that Alegan and other board members were solely responsible for soliciting bribes from the desperate teachers.

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Aluga was not at school when our reporter visited and her known contact was not accessible by the time of filing this story. However, during the commissioning of the school last month, a commitment letter purportedly written by Aluga to repay over Shillings 5 million was publicly read by the Kasilo County MP, Elijah Okupa.

Harriet Nakamya, the Serere Resident District Commissioner says that she has directed the police to take up the matter.  Kadungulu Seed Secondary School was established in 2019 with funding from the Uganda Inter-Governmental Fiscal Transfers Program (UgiFT). The school comprises classrooms, an administration block, an ICT laboratory, a library and staff quarters. The school has 381 students.