CIPFA statement concerning registered student Mr Mouhamadou Sinagonrigui


On 27 October 2023 a Disciplinary Committee of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (“CIPFA”) heard allegations against CIPFA Registered Student Mr Mouhamadou Sinagonrigui.

Disciplinary Committee Attendance

Mr Sinagonrigui attended his hearing but was not legally represented.

The Disciplinary Committee Hearing

Mr Sinagonrugui became a CIPFA Registered Student in or about September 2014.

On 8 December 2022 Mr Sinagonrigui undertook CIPFA’s Strategic Public Finance (SPF) examination on-line. He was the only candidate sitting an examination at that time at his chosen examination venue. This was Mr Sinagonrigui's second sitting of a CIPFA SPF examination. He had been provided with access to the SPF course materials, including the course workbooks, for his earlier sitting.

The examination on 8 December 2022 was conducted in accordance with CIPFA’s Assessment Regulations, which prohibit access to unauthorised materials during a CIPFA examination. Having undertaken a number of CIPFA examinations before 8 December 2022 Mr Sinagonrigui was well aware of what was, and was not, permitted.

When Mr Sinagonrigui's examination script was marked, the examiner had concerns about similarities, and in many places identical matches, between a number of his exam answers and passages in the SPF workbooks.

During its investigations the CIPFA Disciplinary Scheme also noted that there were additional passages of text identical to the learning materials in Mr Sinagonrigui's exam script.

Mr Sinagonrigui, when responding to the allegations of examination misconduct, stated that, for various reasons, he had been unable to follow the tuition for the examination but had decided to take the examination. He did not want others, whom he had co-ordinated and encouraged to take CIPFA examinations, to be discouraged from doing so. In the course of the examination he suddenly noted that he was able to access his files. He identified the parts relevant to the questions in the examination and what the answers might look like which led him to "piggy-back", without changing the wording he "cited". At his hearing Mr Sinagonrigui admitted accessing his course files on line and using those files to answer the questions in the examination, and, that he had acted in breach of the Assessment Regulations and CIPFA's Code of Ethics.

The Committee took into account the explanation for the similarities put forward by Mr Ridings and bore in mind his previous good character.

After closely examining the workbooks the Committee accepted Mr Sinagonrigui's admissions. It found wholesale copying from the course workbooks which involved the bulk of his examination answers. The Committee noted that the answers included some clear cutting and pasting, and, some direct lifts from the workbooks which did not answer the question put.

The Committee found that this use of unauthorised materials was dishonest. Having cheated in his exam, Mr Sinagonrigui had not acted in accordance with the CIPFA’s Assessment Regulations or with honesty and integrity. He had gained an unfair advantage over other exam candidates by accessing the unauthorised materials. 

The Disciplinary Committee’s findings on breach of the Institute’s Bye-Laws 

Mr Sinagonrugui admitted breaching CIPFA's Bye-Laws.

The Committee found that Mr Sinagonrigui's actions brought, or were likely to bring, discredit on himself, the Institute and the profession of accountancy (Bye-Law 23(d)). 

It also found that his conduct was a breach of the Institute’s Code of Ethics’ fundamental principles of integrity and professional behaviour and affected prejudicially the status, reputation or welfare of CIPFA (Bye-Law 23(b) and (c)). His conduct fell significantly short of the standards expected of a CIPFA student. His actions were opportunistic and deliberate and ordinary decent people would consider them to be dishonest.

Sanction and relevant considerations

The Disciplinary Committee directed that Mr Sinagonrigui be expelled from the Institute. 

The Committee found that Mr Sinagonrigui's conduct was a serious breach of the Institute's Bye-laws and was fundamentally incompatible with student membership of the Institute. The dishonesty was at the top end of the scale. There was no evidence of remorse or insight. No lesser sanction would be appropriate and any other disposal would not be in the public interest.

In reaching its decision, the Committee took account of mitigating factors; Mr Sinagonrigui's actions took place on a single day and were unplanned, that he was of previous good character, and, that he had made early admissions to CIPFA.

The Committee also took into account relevant aggravating factors; Mr Sinagonrigui was well aware of the examination rules, that he demonstrated limited remorse and insight, and, that he acted, albeit informally, as a role model to other CIPFA students.

The Committee also imposed a costs order against Mr Sinagonrigui.


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