What do you do when you are feeling the pressure to pass your professional exams but just can’t seem to get over the hump? If you’re this guy from Deloitte UK, you forge doctor notes to buy yourself some more time. Too bad for him he failed again and got busted.
Nahied Kabir had two tries to pass his chartered accountant exams before Deloitte would fire him under the terms of his training contract but instead of taking his failing gracefully and finding a new job, he worked the system, played the victim, forged doctor notes for himself AND his mother and claimed the Deloitte did not give him adequate support during this difficult time. After hearing his case, the IACEW tribunal fined Kabir £1,000 and declared him unfit to be an ICAEW member.
According to the ICAEW complaint, Kabir not only used his own health and that of his mother to grant himself exceptions, he brought religion into it:
After a delay pending medical tests of which the defendant made his employer aware, the defendant re-took the examination on 29 March 2010 and passed it.
The defendant had a further three examinations to pass. In September 2010, the Defendant made a late request to postpone taking them because of his need to observe a religious festival. This was agreed by his employer; the examinations were sat by the defendant on 13, 15 and 16 December 2010. The defendant failed all three exams, scoring below 45% on two of the three papers.
The defendant was invited to a meeting with his employer to consider the termination of his training contract on 1 February 2011. The defendant explained that the main reason for his poor performance was the ill-health of his mother. In the circumstances, his employer asked him to complete an “Exceptional Circumstances” form, to be supported by evidence which would be considered by the employer when deciding his future.
Kabir explained that he felt pressured to provide evidence of his mother’s ill health so instead of getting a letter from her doctor, he simply scanned the first note he forged about himself and changed the details to those of his mother. I can think of a few scummy public companies that might want to snap this guy right up! Instead of accepting his fate, Kabir claimed that Deloitte was just bitter because they owed him money:
When invited by the IC of ICAEW to provide his own explanation, the defendant replied on 5 August 2011 in the following (summarised) terms: (i) he scanned the Dr O’Connell letter and submitted it as his mother’s doctor’s letter; (ii) he regretted doing this but did so under the stress of his mother’s illness and because he felt hat [sic] his employer had not given him sufficient “support”; (iii) he was unable to provide the evidence requested by his employer in the 48 hours allowed him and so scanned and changed the O’Connell letter; (iv) in any event, he considered that Deloitte had already made up its mind to terminate his employment and lacked understanding about his situation and family background of cancer. The defendant explained that he was “upset and disappointed” that his employer had reported the matter to ICAEW. He said “I feel this may relate to the fact that I was in financial dispute with deloitte [sic] over monies relating to a graduate loan and business expenses. I feel this action is designed to put further pressure on me from deloitte [sic] in relation to paying this amount…”. He said that “I am deeply upset and concerned by deloitte’s [sic] behaviour towards me and feel that this investigation may potentially ruin my career.”
Potentially? Yeah, not so much. The ICAEW has basically blackballed Kabir from being a part of the ethical elite:
This is dishonest conduct by a provisional member of ICAEW of the most severe kind. Not only has he endeavoured to deceive his employer which was entitled to place confidence and trust in him, but he did so by forging a letter from another senior professional.
The ICAEW cannot tolerate such grossly dishonest misconduct and cannot allow provisional members who engage in it to be members of ICAEW.
The tribunal rejects the explanation provided by the defendant to the IC that he was under time-pressure to produce the evidence of Exceptional Circumstances and, in effect, as a matter of mere expediency fabricated the letter. There is no justification for such blatant dishonesty. The tribunal was unimpressed by the defendant attempting in his communication with the Institute dated 4 August 2011 to criticise his employer and imply that somehow they were to blame for his actions. The tribunal was also unimpressed by the defendant’s use of his mother’s ill health as the reason to obtain advantage for himself. His complaint that he was both “upset and disappointed” by his employer reporting this matter to ICAEW shows a remarkable and worrying lack of insight into his conduct.
What is the lesson here, kids? Well besides the obvious “Don’t fake doctor notes,” what this guy lacked was a sense of ownership for his own failures. Instead of discussing his previous failures with his employer and attempting to make it right, he actually thought he could get away with inventing exceptions for himself. Who else thinks Deloitte may have been understanding had he gone in, talked honestly about his failures and presented them with a plan to pass his exams? Instead, he spent all that time making up excuses when he could have better applied that time and effort into studying.