A 52-year-old man was among eight suspects apprehended for engaging in fraudulent activities, including an audacious attempt to write an exam on behalf of another candidate, according to the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec).
Zimsec confirmed that, thus far, no candidates had gained unauthorized access to examination papers.
The initial arrest occurred when a suspect circulated a counterfeit scanned copy of a Mathematics paper. This led to the identification and subsequent arrest of a first-year student from Midlands State University (MSU), who then implicated an Ordinary Level student at Emmanuel Centre of Excellence in Kuwadzana Extension, Harare.
Zimsec released a statement on October 15, 2023, alerting the public to the existence of fraudsters who were promoting and selling counterfeit 2023 November examination papers through social media platforms. The statement emphasized that no November 2023 Zimsec candidates had obtained advance access to the question papers.
The examination body, in collaboration with law enforcement, conducted investigations to apprehend the fraudsters taking advantage of unsuspecting candidates. As a result, several arrests were made, and the culprits have already appeared before the courts.
Zimsec’s security and loss control officers, with the assistance of the police, arrested Cole Mutandwa from Kuwadzana, who was involved in advertising and selling fake Zimsec examination question papers. During questioning, Mutandwa implicated Paddington Nhedza, a first-year student at Midlands State University, as the source of the counterfeit question papers found on his cell phone.
Nhedza, after being brought to Harare for interrogation, revealed that he had received the fake scanned copy of the Maths question paper from Alishah Mangisi, an Ordinary Level student at Emmanuel Centre of Excellence. According to Nhedza’s statement, Mangisi claimed to have obtained the counterfeit question paper from a WhatsApp group called “Slimy Intertainment,” primarily for models, and forwarded it to Nhedza for assistance.
George Bukuta, aged 52, was arrested by the investigation team after an invigilator at Life Long College noticed his impersonation of Shadreck Mutsau, an exam candidate, using a passport indicating a birth date of May 5, 1995. Bukuta confessed that he had been paid US$200 by Shadreck Mutsau, candidate number 5036, to write A-level Family and Religious Studies and History exams on his behalf.
Another incident involved Simbarashe Chifura, who conducted extra lessons at his residence in Budiriro 1. Chifura approached Mr. Edwell Tazvivinga, a teacher at Danbrough College, proposing a deal to smuggle a Zimsec examination answer sheet out of the exam room. He intended to use the answer sheet to write the Ordinary Level combined science Paper 2 for external candidate number 3112, Monica Mikairi.
Mr. Tazvivinga promptly reported the incident to his superiors, who then alerted officials from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and the police. They devised a plan to catch the culprit in the act. During the exam, Mikairi was observed not writing anything throughout the entire session.
Meanwhile, Chifura enlisted the help of a motor mechanic named Patrick Zhanje to collect the answer sheet. However, the police apprehended Zhanje while he was handing over the answer sheet to Chifura, leading to the arrest of both individuals.
In response to these cases uncovered during the investigations, Zimsec continues to implement strategies and measures to enhance security for question papers during transit and custody, ensuring the integrity of the examination process.
Zimsec expressed appreciation for the vigilance and integrity demonstrated by center administrators and invigilators who are diligently working to uphold the integrity of the examination and the education system as a whole.