The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has disclosed that it has commenced processes to obtain powers of prosecution to enable it to put people involved in examination malpractices before a court.
According to the council, it believes that when the Attorney-General approves the process, it will become empowered to prosecute offenders and help curb the menace of wrongdoing in examinations.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the Head of Legal at WAEC, Rev. Victor Brew said the process of granting the council authority would hopefully be completed by early next year, following which it would be clothed with the power to begin prosecuting people who engaged in examination malpractice.
"We have initiated the process to obtain the power to prosecute examination offenders. We are still engaging with the Attorney-General’s Department, since, by law, it is the Attorney-General who is vested with the power to prosecute; any other person or entity prosecutes on behalf of the Attorney-General.
"But when we finally get the nod to prosecute, offenders will be processed for court by staff of WAEC. We will have our own prosecutors to do the job for us," Rev. Brew explained.
However, WAEC’s role so far in dealing with examination malpractice is to apprehend offenders, confirm that the crimes have been committed and hand over the offenders to the police for prosecution.
But there are no special courts that deal with examination malpractice and so the process of prosecution is sometimes lukewarm, a situation WAEC believes is not deterrent enough to curb the practice.
Last October, 50 people were arrested for examination malpractice during the 2019 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for private candidates.
Out of the number, 30 were sent to court and fined, jailed or sentenced to both, depending on the severity of the offences, in accordance with the WAEC Act.
Rev. Brew described the power to prosecute as “a whole technical area”, explaining that WAEC was working on it to ensure that “the council gets lawyers eligible to prosecute our cases”.
He acknowledged the fact that to have the power to prosecute, an institution must have capable lawyers and enough training and also have a well-organised internal and strong investigative wing.
Mr Brew also expressed worry over students who cheat their way through examinations and receive certificates in the end but are unable to perform, in spite of the status conferred on them by way of the certificates they possessed.
Credit : Daily Graphic