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Website shut down after cheating claims

By Edward Gay

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A website alleged to have helped tertiary students to cheat on assignments has been shut down and police are now investigating.

New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) lawyer Anna Longdill lodged an application for an interim injunction in the High Court at Auckland this morning.

The website - called Assignment 4U - has been offline since yesterday afternoon.

Today in court lawyers for Assignment4U's parent company Ateama Ltd gave a written undertaking that the website would not advertise or providing cheating services.

It is understood that as many as 10,000 assignments written by ghost writers could have been submitted to universities around New Zealand.

The matter is back before the High Court in September.

But Ms Longdill said a police investigation was under way and criminal charges could be laid.

Police have searched the offices of Ateama Ltd, which traded as Assignment 4U.

Assignment 4U is alleged to have written papers for international tertiary students attending universities, polytechnics and other tertiary institutions.

Ateama Ltd was contacted for comment but a staff member who refused to identify himself said someone would phone back to answer questions.

Two weeks ago it was revealed that Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce was not informed about the service because an investigation failed to find sufficient evidence to proceed.

"My understanding is they investigated at the time and didn't have enough evidence to proceed further.

"The question will be whether this particular allegation is what the person alleges it is, which is a commercial cheating service,'' he said.

A former employee of the company claimed to have written to several institutions, including the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), warning them about the service but had no replies, Radio New Zealand reported earlier this month.

- APNZ

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