On 4 and 22 May and 31 August 2022 a Disciplinary Committee of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (“CIPFA”) heard allegations against CIPFA Registered Student Ms Ifrah Adam Omer.
Disciplinary Committee Attendance
Ms Omer attended the hearing (save for 22 May which was adjourned) and was not represented. She
had made various written responses to the allegations during the CIPFA regulatory process.
The Disciplinary Committee Hearing
Ms Omer became a CIPFA Registered Student in October 2019.
On 2 December 2020 Ms Omer undertook CIPFA’s International Public Financial Management Audit and Assurance (IPFM AA) examination. She undertook the examination on-line, in Somaliland, with a local invigilator who was in attendance during the examination.
The examination was conducted in accordance with CIPFA’s Assessment Regulations, which prohibit access to unauthorised materials during a CIPFA examination.
When Ms Omer’s examination script was marked, the examiner had concerns about many similarities, and in places identical matches, between a number of her exam answers and passages in the IPFM AA workbooks.
Ms Omer denied accessing and using the workbooks during her examination to complete her answers but admitted to having access to the internet during the examination. She said this was to check her spelling and punctuation only. She stated that she had memorised from the course workbooks the parts of her answers that were identical, or similar to, the course material.
The Committee noted the volume and degree of correlation of the answers given in the examination to extracts from the workbooks. It found that the similarities were so great that it could not have been a coincidence and must have been as a result of Ms Omer having access to the workbooks, or other unauthorised materials, during the examination. It did not accept that she could have memorised all of the material before the examination given that the workbooks were a few hundred pages long. Her performance in her previous CIPFA assessments make it more unlikely that her performance in this examination was wholly the result of her own efforts.
Although it took account of Ms Omer’s previous good character, the Committee concluded that Ms Omer had access to, and used, unauthorised material during her examination.
The Committee was satisfied that Ms Omer was aware that her conduct in accessing and using unauthorised materials during her examination was wrong and would be regarded as dishonest by the standards of ordinary decent people. It found that her conduct was dishonest.
Having cheated in her examination, Ms Omer had failed to act in accordance with the CIPFA’s Assessment Regulations or with integrity, cheating undoubtedly amounting to “doing the wrong thing”. Ms Omer had sought to obtain an unfair advantage over other examination candidates.
The Disciplinary Committee’s findings on breach of the Institute’s Bye-Laws
The Committee found that Ms Omer’s actions brought, or were likely to bring, discredit on herself, the
Institute and the profession of accountancy (Bye-Law 23(d)).
Her 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)). It amounted to misconduct.
Sanction and relevant considerations
The Disciplinary Committee directed that Ms Omer be expelled from the Institute.
The Committee regarded dishonestly cheating in an examination by a CIPFA student to be of the utmost seriousness as it has the potential to undermine public confidence in the integrity of the examination process and calls into question the value of any eventual qualification. It found that Ms Omer’s conduct made it fundamentally incompatible for her to remain on the CIPFA student register.
In reaching its decision, the Committee took account of mitigating factors; Ms Omer was of previous
good character and had no previous CIPFA disciplinary findings against her.
The Committee also took into account relevant aggravating factors; Ms Omer had accessed unauthorised materials, and so cheated in her examination, and was found to have acted dishonestly.
The Committee also imposed a costs order against Ms Omer.
For media enquiries contact the CIPFA press office at T: +44 (0)20 7543 5885 E: Mark.Davey@cipfa.org
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