By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK A police constable was yesterday arrested after she allegedly fraudulently enlisted the services of a close family member to write grade 12 examinations on her behalf, in the policewoman’s quest to upgrade her qualifications. This incident follows after New Era carried a story yesterday in which the Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Paulus Noa issued a strong warning that there would be no mercy shown towards individuals who cheat in end-of-year exams. ACC Detective Inspector Phelem Masule confirmed the arrest of the policewoman who said she is attached to the Special Field Force headquarters in Windhoek, though this information has yet to be verified. The relative who sat for the exam was also arrested. The arrested police officer is among the dozens of distance learning students enrolled at the Namibian College of Open Learning’s Yetuyama Centre in Katutura. It is reported she does not have a Grade 12 certificate and this was her first attempt to get one. The fraud came in when she instead of writing it herself requested her relative – a student at the Polytechnic of Namibia – to write the exams for her. “The police officer maybe thought that she would not make it (pass) and asked another family member who is a student at the Polytechnic of Namibia to write for her,” explained Masule. He said that students have to make use of a document to which a photograph of the candidate’s face is attached. However, in this case this document had been tampered with by the two accused. “She took out the right photo from the document and placed her own photo, although the names are not the same. It is very easy to do this, but on her document there was no police stamp to show that she was the real candidate. Usually the exam officials only look at the face on the photo,” explained Masule. However, after the public alert yesterday, examination officials were vigilant enough to detect this corrupt practice by the two accused and notified the ACC police for a prompt arrest in this regard. “The invigilators caught her out just as she was about to leave the exam room,” added Masule. Both have been arrested, while police investigations are ongoing. Since one of the accused is a police officer – a constable by profession – the matter is now in the hands of the Complaints and Discipline Unit of the Namibian Police for further investigation. This latest incident comes hot on the heels of the warning by the ACC director about the corrupt practice of exam fraud and cheating, especially during this time of the year when examinations are in full swing. As of late it has emerged that some students are resorting to the practice of allowing others to write examination papers for them, while others sit for these exams for profit on behalf of others. The problem is so widespread that it has been reported to the Anti-Corruption Commission. This further prompted the director to send out a warning to exam cheats. “People have found some loopholes in the system. Some are sitting on behalf of others. So supervisors or invigilators must be extra careful when checking the students,” said Noa, adding that this is tantamount to corruption and fraud. As a result of this worrying situation, anonymous letters have been streaming into the ACC offices where the story is that some students “have been seen or overheard” talking about how they can assist each other. It turns out that some of those who actually do sit for exams are not the real candidates and since most students do not have identity documents they use old passports to ‘eye-blind’ the supervisors to enter the examination hall. It is apparent that while some students will end up doing this as a favour to help others, others mostly likely do it for the money. It also turns out that some of the students write for each other at different tertiary institutions. The ACC is calling on tertiary institutions like the Polytechnic of Namibia and the University of Namibia to take serious action against these cheaters.
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