UTME: Court Convicts CBT Centre Owner Over Registration Infraction

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A Grade One Area Court sitting at Aco Estate, Abuja, has convicted a CBT centre owner, Mr. Ezechinoso Augustine, of registration infraction, concealment, breach of trust, and theft.

When the case came up for hearing on Monday, February 6, 2024, the accused, who operates a CBT centre in Onitsha, was charged with criminal breach of trust, concealment, registration infraction (cheating), and theft.

Ezechinoso, a male of No. 28 Omonun Street, Awada, Onitsha, Anambra State, reportedly signed and collected customised and sensitive registration material from the Anambra State Office of the Board to enable him to kick-start and activate the process of UTME registration.

He also alleged that the material he collected was not functioning while denying that he was in possession of any for registration during the interview.

According to the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Olisaemeka Okeke, who was holding a brief for Mr. Stanley Nafoaku, the suspect had pleaded guilty to the charge.

The defense counsel, Barrister Pere Adge, however, pleaded that the accused was a Nigerian, who might have been prompted by the prevailing circumstances to commit the infractions without intent to cause damage or harm, and being a first-time offender, she pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy.

The presiding judge, Hon. Aliyu Ibrahim Kagarko, however, found the suspect guilty and ordered that he should be remanded at Nasarawa Correctional Centre until Thursday, February 8, 2024, when the judgement would be delivered.

However, the case could not be heard on the scheduled date due to unforeseen circumstances and was postponed to the following day, Friday, February 9, 2024.

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The following day, the presiding judge found Mr. Ezechinoso guilty on all four counts, citing the criminal breach of trust, which attracted nine months’ imprisonment or a 30 thousand naira fine, and the attempt to commit the offense of cheating, which attracts a six-month imprisonment or a fine of twenty thousand naira.

Ezechinoso was also found guilty of intent to conceal, which attracted a three-month imprisonment term or the payment of a fine of ten thousand naira, while the fourth count charge, which was theft, attracted eight months or an option of a thirty thousand naira fine.

In its reaction, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), in a press statement yesterday signed by its spokesperson, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, welcomed the judgement and warned would-be infractors to desist from their nefarious agenda or face the full wrath of the law.

The Board also warned of the array of technological devices at its disposal, which had enabled real-time detection of infractions. It, therefore, warned that it would not hesitate to wield the big stick on any person or groups, no matter how highly placed, who might wish to undermine the Board.

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