On 29 April 2022 a Disciplinary Committee of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (“CIPFA”) heard allegations against CIPFA Registered Student Mr Mohamed Ayoub Kabiri.
Disciplinary Committee Attendance
Mr Kabiri attended the hearing and represented himself.
The Disciplinary Committee Hearing
Mr Kabiri was a CIPFA Registered Student in September 2020.
On 7 September 2020 Mr Kabiri undertook CIPFA’s International Public Financial Management Public Finance (PF) examination. He undertook the examination on-line, at his workplace with a local invigilator who was in attendance, in person.
The examination was due to be conducted in accordance with CIPFA’s Assessment Regulations, which prohibit access to unauthorised materials during a CIPFA examination. The invigilator recorded no issues with the exam sitting.
When Mr Kabiri’s examination script was marked, the examiner had concerns about the similarity, and, in some places, identical match, between answers provided by Mr Kabiri and those provided by another candidate sitting the same exam at the same workplace.
At his hearing, and in his earlier response to CIPFA’s investigations, Mr Kabiri advised CIPFA that he was under a number of personal pressures at the time of the exam, including as a result of health difficulties he was experiencing. He stated that during the exam he noticed that he had spent too much time on one question and, in panic, tried to see the screen of the other candidate but could not do so as the invigilator observed them.
Later, about half-way through the exam, the invigilator left the room for a few minutes, apparently to take a call, and Mr Kabiri and the other candidate used a data stick which they found in the exam room to exchange the answers to long questions. He provided his answer for a question and received the other candidate’s answer for a question. Mr Kabiri stated that this, along with his having studied and practiced with the other student, accounted for the similarity in their exam papers. Mr Kabiri accepted that his actions were a breach of CIPFA’s Code of Ethics and its Assessment Regulations and amounted to dishonesty and a lack of integrity.
The Committee examined the workbooks and the examination script and considered and accepted Mr Kabiri’s admissions.
The Committee found that Mr Kabiri’s conduct was dishonest and lacking in integrity and that he had breached the Institute’s Code of Ethics’ requirements of integrity and professional behaviour. He was also in breach of the Institute’s Assessment Regulations and had sought to gain an unfair advantage over other examination candidates.
The Disciplinary Committee’s findings on breach of the Institute’s Bye-Laws
The Committee found that Mr Kabiri’s actions brought, or were likely to bring, discredit on himself, the Institute and the profession of accountancy (Bye-Law 23(d)).
His unethical conduct affected prejudicially the status, reputation or welfare of CIPFA (Bye-Law 23(b) and (c)). Cheating in an examination amounted to misconduct.
Sanction and relevant considerations
The Disciplinary Committee directed that Mr Kabiri be suspended from the Institute for a period of one year.
The Committee found that Mr Kabiri’s conduct was intentional and planned in that all of the answers had been shared when the examiner was absent from the exam room for only a short period of time. Although he had made admissions, the Committee was of the view that he failed to display insight into the seriousness of his conduct. His difficult personal circumstances and their effect on his health did not excuse his admitted misconduct.
The committee considered that any action less than a suspension would fail to properly mark the seriousness of Mr Kabiri’s misconduct. However, taking account of his personal circumstances, including the impact of his work and health situation, a period of suspension for one year was considered to be an appropriate and proportionate sanction.
In reaching its decision, the Committee took account of mitigating factors; Mr Kabiri was of previous good character and had no previous CIPFA disciplinary findings against him. He had fully engaged with the investigation and had made admissions.
The Committee also took into account what it considered to be aggravating factors; Mr Kabiri’s lack of honesty and integrity and his failure to display insight into the seriousness of his actions.
The Committee also imposed a costs order against Mr Kabiri.
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