By TONY PALME
SEVENTY-six students from Enga Teachers’ College found to have defrauded the college of more than K120,000 in fake school fee receipts since last year will be expelled today.
The final decision was reached by a 13-member governing council of the college in their meeting on Saturday after a Criminal Investigation Division unit from Wabag gave their report.
Led by Enga police commander George Kakas a team went to the college and interviewed each student who was implicated last week after being invited to investigate.
Kakas said each student who was in their first to third year and elementary teachers admitted to the offence of conspiring with a syndicate, that falsely claimed to be provincial education officials trying to help students meet their full fees.
According to Kakas, the syndicate crime as testified to by the students during the interview, started last year, the masterminds collected certain upfront payments as well as pigs and goats before producing receipts of full payment.
“The identity of the syndicate or syndicates, we believe there are a couple of them that the students have colluded with, are known. The students have told us so we will catch them. They live around the villages in Wabag,” Kakas said.
“It is a massive fraud, a criminal offence committed against Enga Teachers College. We cannot tolerate it. We’ve presented our reports to the school witnessed by two education officers who came from Port Moresby.
“The penalty against such crime (conspiracy to defraud) is a maximum of seven years imprisonment. But we leave it to the school board to decide which course of action to take as we further assist them.”
Those that are facing termination are Year 1: eight students; Year 2: 26; Year 3: 37; and Elementary: 5 students.
The students produced fake school fee receipts and got enrolled in 2017 and 2018, amounting to K122,180.
Principal Michael Homingu described it as a serious criminal offence committed by the students to defraud ETC.
“The students have deliberately defrauded the college which tried to give them the best teacher training,” he said.
“We cannot continue to educate a bunch of criminals.
“The board has already made a decision to terminate those students to set a precedence that this college will not tolerate such practice in future.”
Sources revealed that seven students (five elementary and two primary teachers), which brings to a total of 83 students involved in the fraud, had graduated and were teaching.
Homingu said those who cheated the college and were teaching would also be reported so that they were deregistered by the Teaching Services Commission.
College bursar Odilia Turuk showed all the fake school fee receipts which were identified after making cross checks with the bank (BSP) branch in Wabag.
By TONY PALME