CIPFA statement concerning registered student Mr Yohana Kibhole


On 14 and 15 March 2023 a Disciplinary Committee of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (“CIPFA”) heard allegations against CIPFA Registered Student Mr Yohana Kibhole.

Disciplinary Committee Attendance

Mr Kibhole did not attend his hearing and was not represented in his absence. He had been in communication with the CIPFA Disciplinary Scheme prior to his hearing. 

Adjournment Request and Attendance 

Mr Kibhole sought an adjournment of the hearing on medical grounds, his having been granted one previous adjournment but two later applications having not been granted. He produced no further medical evidence in support of his application.

The Committee was not persuaded that there was material before it which demonstrated that he suffered from a medical condition which would impair his participation or prevent him from participating in the hearing.

The Committee considered whether to proceed in the absence of Mr Kibhole. It formed the view that Mr Kibhole had elected not to attend and it was not satisfied that Mr Kibhole would attend any future hearing. Taking account of these factors and the public interest in the expeditious disposal of the case, the Committee determined to proceed in Mr Kibhole’s absence. In light of this decision it recognised that it should have careful regard to what Mr Kibhole said in correspondence and its duty to test the case, including Mr Kibhole’s claim that he had memorised the answers. 

The Disciplinary Committee Hearing

Mr Kibhole became a CIPFA Registered Student in or about October 2013.

On 10 June 2021 Mr Kibhole undertook CIPFA’s Strategic Public Finance (SPF) examination on-line in Morogoro, Tanzania, with a local invigilator. The invigilator’s report noted that only one student sat the exam at that location and that nothing of significance occurred during the examination. Prior to the examination Mr Kibhole had studied the SPF course and received electronic copies of the course materials including the workbooks.

The examination was conducted in accordance with CIPFA’s Assessment Regulations, which prohibit access to unauthorised materials during a CIPFA examination. At the beginning of the examination all candidates receive a message reminding them of what was, and what was not, authorised materials and that exam misconduct would be reported to the Disciplinary Scheme. Candidates are required to tick a box to accept that they have read and accepted the Assessment Regulations before they are granted access to an examination.

Prior to the examination Mr Kibhole had undertaken a number of previous CIPFA tests, exams and assessments and passed only one of them. He would have been well aware from his previous examinations of what was permitted and not permitted in an examination.

When Mr Kibhole’s examination script was marked, the examiner found parts of the text were identical, or nearly identical, to the course materials and a complaint was raised with the Disciplinary Scheme. 

During its investigations the CIPFA Disciplinary Scheme conducted a further comparison between Mr Kibhole’s script and the learning materials and found additional significant passages of text identical to the learning materials. 

When responding to the allegations of examination misconduct, Mr Kibhole stated that “regrettably” some of his answers were based memorised materials drawn from tutorials but denied using learning materials during the examination. The Committee took this explanation and Mr Kibhole’s previous good character into account in its considerations. 

After closely examining the workbooks and examination script the Committee found Mr Kibhole’s explanation not to be credible. It was not suggested that he had a photographic memory and the Committee was not able to accept that Mr Kibhole was able to remember entire sections of the workbook through rote learning. It considered that if he had attempted to memorise the technical prose he would have been more likely to have produced passages with errors of spelling, grammar and syntax as in other parts of his answers. His emails and other parts of his answers, those not alleged to have been copied, were considered a more reliable indicator of his style of writing than the copied passages. The Committee did not consider that Mr Kibhole could have memorised the various passages and typed them out verbatim. The layout and word spacing of the copied material was an exact match to the workbooks and the Committee considered that this would not have been remembered from rote learning. Mr Kibhole could not have produced the answers in the form he did without access to the course materials and he must have been in possession of and had access to the course materials during the examination – as a result of which he was able to copy and paste answers into his script.

The Committee found that this use of unauthorised materials was dishonest. The exam script disclosed, deliberate, wholesale copying if significant passages. Ordinary decent people would consider such actions to be dishonest. Having cheated in his exam, Mr Kibhole had not acted in accordance with the CIPFA’s Assessment Regulations or with integrity. He had gained an unfair advantage over other exam candidates. Copying materials gave him an advantage over those who typed out their recollection by hand and he had far greater time to concentrate on other answers that were not copied. The advantage was short lived due to the diligence of the examiner detecting the wholesale copying. 

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

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

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 actions were a serious breach of the rules.

Sanction and relevant considerations

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

The Committee found that Mr Kibhole’s actions were a serious breach of the Bye-Laws and were 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. 

In reaching its decision, the Committee took account of mitigating factors; Mr Kibhole was of previous good character, had no previous CIPFA disciplinary findings against him and had some engagement with the CIPFA regulatory process through correspondence. 

The Committee also took into account relevant aggravating factors; Mr Kibhole’s actions were at the high end of dishonesty and involved significant portions of the exam script being copied although took place on a single occasion, Mr Kibhole had shown no insight, the dishonesty occurred in the hope of obtaining full membership of CIPFA, and, Mr Kibhole’s actions caused appreciable harm to the Institute. 

The Committee also imposed a costs order against Mr Kibhole. 


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