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CBT Centre Operator Faces Two-Year Jail Term for Defrauding JAMB in Registration Scandal

Ezechinoso Augustine Convicted on Four Counts, Including Criminal Breach of Trust and Concealment

A grade-one area court sitting at Aco Estate in Abuja has handed down a two-year jail term to Ezechinoso Augustine, an Onitsha-based operator of a Computer-Based Testing (CBT) centre, for his involvement in a registration fraud scandal with the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

JAMB, which collaborates with privately owned CBT centres annually for the Unified Tertiary and Matriculation Examination (UTME) registration, discovered Augustine’s breach of trust during the registration process. The accused faced charges of criminal breach of trust, concealment, registration infraction (cheating), and theft.

According to Fabian Benjamin, who issued a statement to TheCable on Sunday, the case came up for hearing on February 6, 2024. Augustine allegedly collected sensitive registration materials from the JAMB office in Anambra state, only to conceal them and deceive the board. He was accused of providing false information during an interview, denying possession of the material.

The court found Augustine guilty on all four counts, stating that his infractions amounted to cheating and an intent to conceal theft, both contrary to Sections 311, 391, and 286 of the Penal Code. The prosecuting counsel, Olisaemeka Okeke, revealed that Augustine pleaded guilty to the charges.

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Pere Adge, the defendant’s counsel, argued that Augustine, being a first-time offender, might have been driven by economic realities without intent to cause damage or harm. Adge pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy.

Presiding Judge Aliyu Ibrahim Kagarko ordered Augustine’s remand at Nasarawa Correctional Centre until February 8. On February 9, Augustine was found guilty on all four counts. The court specified the penalties for each charge, with criminal breach of trust attracting a nine-month imprisonment or a N30,000 fine, attempted cheating leading to a six-month imprisonment or a fine of N20,000, intent to conceal resulting in a three-month imprisonment term or a fine of N10,000, and theft carrying an eight-month sentence or a N30,000 fine.

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This case serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining integrity in the examination process and the legal consequences for those who engage in fraudulent activities.

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