The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has fined six Libala Secondary School Grade 12 pupils K5,000 each for unauthorized possession of examination papers.

Magistrate Humphrey Chitalu ruled that if the fine is not paid by December 31, the offenders will serve 18 months’ simple imprisonment.

In this matter, the six; five juveniles and 20 year-old, Joyce Sialwiindi of Libala Stage 4B, were facing one count of unauthorized possession of examination paper or information, contrary to Section 19 (1) and (2) of the Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ) Act chapter 137 of the laws of Zambia and had pleaded guilty.

It was alleged that on November 2, this year, the six jointly and whilst acting together without lawful excuse, had in their possession Grade 12 examination question papers.

The matter came up, Monday, for facts and sentencing.

Facts in this matter are that on the material day around 09:00 hours, a police officer attached to the ECZ received a report that there were some pupils from Libala Secondary School who were caught with pre-written answers for Grade 12 Mathematics Paper One.

Acting on the same information, the said officer went to the school in the company of the ECZ security officer and were ushered into the Head Teacher’s office.

The two found six juvenile offenders in possession of Grade 12 Mathematics Paper One question paper with handwritten solutions.

The said pupils were later taken to Longacres Police Post.

Asked by the court whether the facts were correct, the six replied in the affirmative.

In mitigation, the six offenders asked the court to exercise leniency on them so that they could complete their studies.

The six added that they were very apologetic to the court for what happened.

However, passing his sentence, Magistrate Chitalu noted that the offence of examination malpractice had become very common in Zambia.

He fined them K5,000 each to be paid by next Monday to send a message to would-be offenders.

“It is very sad. I understand that they are first offenders [but] it is important to send a message. So, this court has ordered a fine of K5,000 to be paid by December 31, 2018. In default, they will serve 18 months’ simple imprisonment,” ruled Magistrate Chitalu.

He further ordered that the six remain in custody until the amount was paid.