Politician has nothing to chauffeur his study

April 7, 2006

The vice-mayor of a Romanian town is facing the sack and a jail term after sending his driver to take a university exam in his place.

Florin Oancea, from the western town of Deva, has thus far refused to apologise for his actions. He claims he was checking the rigour of Vasile Goldis University's examination system.

"I sent my driver to the exam because I wanted to test the university," he said. "No identification check was made of those sitting the exam, and the swap was noticed only afterwards.

"The standard of the test was also questionable as my driver, who only has his high-school leaving certificate, managed to get 90 per cent - the same level of marks that I, who have been studying the subject, managed to achieve in previous tests," said Mr Oancea.

But the university declined to accept the vice-mayor's claims and expelled him from the masters-level public administration course.

Ion Pitulescu, rector of Vasile Goldis, said: "We have never had cause to ask students to identify themselves as such methods of cheating have never been used before. It was only when a student alerted us that we checked the handwriting from the latest examination with an old one and found the same person had not sat the two tests."

He added that he did not accept Mr Oancea's explanation.

"What he has recently told the media, and what he originally told me, do not match. He even apologised to me during a private meeting. We have expelled him and handed the matter over to the public prosecutor's office."

Mr Oancea and his driver, Ion Ognean, are being investigated by local authorities and could face up to three years in jail for fraud.

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