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June 3, 2013 | by  | in News |
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NZQA Puts the Heaters on the Cheaters

Criminal charges will be laid against the company accused of selling essays to international students, NZQA has indicated, after the website was shut down last week.

NZQA appeared at a hearing in the Auckland High Court last Wednesday, and were successful in gaining an interim injunction against Ateama Limited, as well as the directors of the company, Pengju Chen and Steven Quan Li. Ateama Limited runs assignment4u.com, the cheating service uncovered by media in May.

Dr Karen Poutasi, CEO of the qualifications authority, said the application for an interim injunction was aimed at stopping the service from continuing.

“We want an injunction against their continuing to offer these cheating services.

“[An injunction would] restrict… the Assignment4u website and individuals involved in it from continuing conduct that’s in breach of the Education Act,” said Poutasi.

Lawyers for the men told the court the company had effectively ceased trading as the website had been taken down on Monday, following a police raid the previous Friday. The injunction has been postponed until September.

In 2011, NZQA was granted the power to prosecute anyone advertising or providing cheating services, but this is the first instance where it has attempted to use this ability.

Anna Longdill, a lawyer for NZQA, has said the criminal investigation into the scandal is continuing, and criminal charges are likely. Police have seized ten computers and a room full of files from the company.

Poutasi said that it is “yet to be determined” how NZQA would deal with students found to have cheated by buying assignments from Assignment4u.

The extent to which the service was used by Victoria students is still unknown.

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