31 January 2018

Sierra Leone: Exams Malpractice!

Justice Ernest Gooding, presiding at the Freetown High Court, yesterday (30 January) sentenced two teachers to nine years imprisonment each after they pleaded guilty to five count charges of exams malpractices.

It could be recalled that on 18th January the duo of Mohamed P. Konneh and Sahr Mani pleaded guilty to five count charges of conspiracy, abuse of office, soliciting advantage and other related charges, contrary to the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008.

The Anti-Corruption Commission's lead prosecutor, P.K. Amara, had alleged that the first convict - a teacher at the Ansarul Secondary School in Kenema - and his co-convict - a teacher at the Government Technical Secondary School in Freetown - conspired with unknown individuals to commit a felony.

The prosecution had further alleged that both convicts improperly conferred an advantage on one Amie Fayia, a candidate of the 2017 West Africa Senior Secondary School Examinations (WASSE) to rewrite her General Mathematics Paper II.

Addressing the court before the sentencing, prosecutor Amara said no punishment was provided in section 128 of the ACC Act of 2008 for conspiracy, but section 130 of the Act did.

In his plea of mitigation on behalf of both convicts, who stood in the dock with hands clasped backwards and showing remorse, Lawyer C. Campbell pleaded with the judge to temper justice with mercy as both convicts are first time offenders.

He told the court that the duo are the breadwinners of their respective families and that a custodian sentence would cause hardship to their families.

Judge Gooding noted that both teachers pleaded guilty to the five count charges, albeit not during their first appearance on 17th July, 2017.

He said the action of the convicts could help drag education to the drainage, adding that teachers should be nation-builders and not parties to exams malpractices.

The trial judge pronounced a sentence of three years imprisonment for the offence of conspiracy, soliciting advantage and abuse of office, contrary to the ACC Act of 2008. The sentences will run concurrently.

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