LSU delays exam results due to system errors

Due to system errors on the student portals, Lupane State University (LSU) was unable to release the results of examinations that were written in November and December of last year.

Staff members, speaking anonymously, claimed the challenges stemmed from the university charging levies in USD that were converted at the interbank rate, causing students to experience large debits on their portals.

The staff suggested that the institution committed “fraud at the highest level” by failing to invest in the system, which is now outdated and unable to update any payments.

“All levies were pegged to USD, but upon charging students, the amount was converted at the interbank rate, resulting in students experiencing huge debit amounts in their portals. According to International Accounting Standards (IAS), this is fraud at its highest level. This is the same problem that was experienced in the 2022 financial statement audit where the university received a Disclaimer Opinion,” said one of the staff members.

As a result, several students have been unable to view their results despite clearing the institution’s fees, and some reported ongoing difficulties as of this Thursday.

On February 7, 2024, a circular written by LSU’s Deputy Registrar Academic Affairs stated that the university was currently experiencing system issues while updating payments on student portals.

“The University wishes to inform all students that the November/December 2023 examinations results have been published. However, the university is currently experiencing system challenges on updating payments on students’ portals. Students are hereby advised that the University is working on the problem. The University sincerely apologizes for any inconveniences caused,” said the Deputy Registrar.

When reached for comment, LSU spokesperson Densen Kulube said the challenge had been fixed, and students could now access their results.

“I don’t know about systems. What I know is students can now access their results. The reason why they could not access results was spelled out on the website notice. That notice is what can give you an answer (on whether the system was outdated). Now that students can access their results, whatever was the challenge, it was fixed,” Kulube said.

However, sources at the institution disputed Kulube’s sentiments, saying students were still failing to access their results.

“There are many queries coming through. Students need to know their results so that those who failed can sit for supplementary exams set for February 26, 2024, which is next Monday, and they are under pressure,” one staffer said.

An independent auditors’ 2022 report made to the LSU council, in possession of CITE, revealed that the auditors who audited the institution’s inflation-adjusted financial statements (comprising the statement of financial position as at 31 December 2022 and other accompanying statements) produced a Disclaimer Opinion, which means they were unable to obtain sufficient evidence to support an opinion on the financial statements.

“We do not express an opinion on the accompanying financial statements of the University because of the significance of the matters discussed in the Basis for Disclaimer Opinion section of our report. We have not been able to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion on these financials,” read the report.

The basis for the Disclaimer Opinion was that the auditors were not provided with all the supporting documents for the academic fees income recognised.

“Academic fees comprise a significant part of income generated by the University from its operation. Academic fees are billed each semester for all students using class attendance registers. We were not provided with all the supporting documents for the academic fees income recognised,” read the report.

“The University could not provide a listing of students who wrote examinations for assessment of whether all the billed students wrote examinations in the relevant semester for which they were to determine whether the academic fees were accounted for in the current period.”

The report said LSU could not provide accurate and complete student statistics to evaluate the recalculation of academic fees using the number of active students and the authorized tuition fees for each program per semester, to assess if the academic fees income recognized for the year is accurate.

“Sufficient appropriate audit evidence could not be obtained for academic fees amounting to ZWL$ 2,440,106,624 disclosed in the financial statements. We were unable to perform alternative audit procedures to satisfy ourselves on the completeness, accuracy, and occurrence of academic fees income amount during the audit, and the person responsible for students’ accounts is the current acting bursar,” read part of the report.

Meanwhile, staff members reiterated that the 2023 financial statement audit would receive a “pervasive opinion” because the university had still failed to account for academic fees separately.

“The university should produce two student statements, since it’s using two currencies. The student should have a USD statement and ZWL statement not converting USD to ZWL. How will the University account for the revenue recognised during the year?” questioned a staff member.

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