A Grade One Area Court sitting at Apo Estate, Abuja has convicted a Computer-Based Test (CBT) centre owner, one Ezechinoso Augustine for indulging in registration infraction, theft, and breach of trust.
According to a statement signed by the spokesman of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Fabian Benjamin, on Sunday, Ezechinoso, who operates a CBT centre in Onitsha, was arraigned for criminal breach of trust, concealment, registration infraction (cheating) and theft.
The statement quoted the First Information Report to have partly read: “Cheating, intent to conceal theft contrary to Section 311, 391 and 286 of the Penal Code, “That on 26th January 2024 You, Mr. Ezechinoso, male of No. 28 Omonun street, Awada, Onitsha, Anambra State, signed and collected a customized and sensitive registration material from the Anambra State Office of the Board to enable you kick-start and activate the process of UTME registration.
”But instead concealed it with the intention to defraud the Board, to enable you to acquire a second one to complete your fraudulent activities at the CBT centre.
“You also alleged that the material you collected was not functioning. You lied and denied that you are not in possession of any for registration during the interview.
“It was later strongly revealed that you actually concealed the material thereby committing the above offences.”
The Prosecuting Counsel, Olisaemeka Okeke, who held brief for Stanley Nafoaku, said the suspect had pleaded guilty to the charge.
But the defendant counsel, Pere Adge, pleaded that the accused was a Nigerian, who might have been prompted by the prevailing circumstances to commit the infractions without intent to cause damage or harm, and being a first-time offender, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy.
Presiding judge, Justice Aliyu Kagarko found the suspect guilty and ordered that he should be remanded at Nasarawa Correctional Centre till Thursday, 8th February 2024, when judgment would be delivered.
The statement read, ”However, the case could not be heard on the scheduled date on account of unforeseen circumstances and was postponed to the following day, Friday, 9th February 2024.
“The following day, the presiding judge found Mr. Ezechinoso guilty on all four counts citing the criminal breach of trust, which attracted a nine-month imprisonment or 30 thousand naira fine and an attempt to commit the offence of cheating, which attracts a six-month imprisonment or a fine of twenty thousand naira.
“Ezechinoso was also found guilty of intent to conceal, which attracted a three-month imprisonment term or the payment of a fine of ten thousand naira while the fourth count charge, which was theft, attracted eight months or an option of a thirty thousand naira fine.”
Reacting to the judgment, JAMB expressed delight over the development even as it warned would-be infractors to desist from their nefarious agenda or face the full wrath of the law.
The board warned that the array of technological devices at its disposal provides it with real-time detection of infractions.
It, therefore, warned that it would not hesitate to wield the big stick on any person or group, no matter how highly placed, who might wish to undermine the Board.
In another development, the Board has restated its zero tolerance for infractions of the nation’s statutes.
It stressed that, as a regulatory agency, it does not condone any form of unwholesome practice capable of bringing its hard-earned integrity to disrepute.
Consequently, it vowed to follow up the prosecution of the case of the reported violation of the data protection right of a 15-year-old candidate by an agent of a CBT Centre currently before a Lagos Court and assured the parents of the 15-year-old girl and other concerned Nigerians involved that justice would be served accordingly.