Court fines culprits of leaked SSSCE papers
Accra, Aug. 24, GNA - An Accra Circuit Court on Tuesday convicted three people on their own plea for the leakage of question papers of the 2004 Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSSCE) but expressed concern about the law, which, it said, was outdated.
The Court chaired by Mrs Elizabeth Ankomah called for the amendment of PNDC Law 255 that fixed a maximum penalty of 500,000 cedis for offenders found guilty of examination malpractices.
The Court sentenced Seth Kwame Quayson, a 23-year-old Teacher from Tikobo Number Two in the Western Region, to a fine of 6.5 million cedis. Kwame, who pleaded guilty to unlawful entry, causing unlawful damage, stealing and leaking examination papers, would in default serve four years' imprisonment with hard labour.
His accomplices - Cudjoe Anthony Kabenlah, a 20-year-old student of Half Assini Secondary School and Quayson Isaac Abeiku, a 19-year-old student of Adisadel College - were fined 1.5 million cedis each or in default six months in jail. They pleaded guilty to dishonestly receiving, illegal possession, knowledge or use of exam papers and leaking exam papers.
Mrs Ankomah in her judgement stated the accused persons were first offenders and young students, who had just completed school. Mr Frank Yankey, Counsel for the accused persons, prayed the court to deal leniently with them since they were young and were first offenders.
Mr Yankey said the teacher, who was employed last year, had already lost his job.
"My clients have regretted their conduct and a custodial sentence would impair their future," Mr Yankey said.
Prosecuting, Chief Inspector Rebecca Nugbemado told the Court that Kabenlah and Abieku both wrote their final exams in the just-ended SSSCE.
The Prosecutor said on July 3, 2004 examination papers meant for Axim District were kept in a West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Depot at Fort Anthony, Axim.
The Fort keeper was the father of Seth Quayson. The keys to the WAEC Depot were, however, kept by two officials of Ghana Education Service (GES) for security reasons.
Chief Inspector Nugbemado said between July 19 and July 27 this year, the Supervisor at the Nsein Senior Secondary School, near Axim, detected that on a number of occasions when their parcels of questions were checked; either one or two question papers were missing. Those detected missing included Elective Mathematics, Literature in English, Business Mathematics and Principles of Costing 2, French 2 Physics 1, Geography 2, Economics 1&2, Agric Science 1, Integrated Science 2, History 2 Chemistry 2 and Social Studies.
The Prosecution said a report was made to the Head Office of WAEC in Accra and an investigation team was set up.
The team detected that the papers had already leaked in some secondary schools at Agona Swedru, Cape Coast, Sekondi/Takoradi, Half Assini, Kumasi, Accra and other schools across the country.
The Prosecutor said students were arrested from some schools and they all mentioned that their source was the Western Region. The two Depot Keepers at Axim were also arrested and detained for investigation. Kabenlah who had been repeatedly been mentioned by most students was arrested but he denied knowledge of the act.
She said Abeiku was also arrested and investigation revealed that he travelled to Kumasi with the Chemistry question paper on a hired taxi at midnight.
Chief Inspector Nugbemado further stated that an in-depth investigation led to the arrest of Seth Quayson on August 9 and he admitted breaking into the WAEC Depot through the ceiling. According to him he stole copies of Elective Maths, Business Management, Costing, Physics and Chemistry papers and sold them to Kabenlah at one million cedis. He denied knowledge of the remaining leaked questions papers.
The Prosecution said Kabenlah, who had earlier denied his involvement later confessed and collaborated the assertion of Quayson but stated that he received only four question papers. She said Kabenlah explained that he gave the questions to his colleagues to help them in the examinations because he was an Agricultural Science student and did not offer any of the four subjects. Kabenlah said he paid only 230,000 cedis to Quayson and not one million cedis.