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Fake Academic Certificates Threatening Integrity of Our Education System

Fake Academic Certificates Threatening Integrity of Our Education System.

According to the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA), one in three academic certificates is fraudulent.

Research published by KNAQ last year found that about 30% of civil officials faked academic credentials in order to obtain employment and advancement.

This is why the EACC issued a recommendation to government institutions and those responsible for public sector recruiting to verify certifications.

“The commission has intensified investigations on public officers who may have used forged certificates to get employment and to recover monies they have earned on account of falsified certificates,” said EACC.

Authorities from the Ministry of Education say that the vice has spread because the country’s certification system is not coherent.

The vice is also attributed to the absence of a central inventory of various qualifications, the high rates of student dropout from various levels of our education system, and the absence of nationally agreed entry requirements for various levels of our education system.

Chacha Nyaigoti, chairman of the Commission for University Education, remarked that despite universities’ best efforts to prevent the forging of their academic certificates, there are still individuals who are resourceful and willing to utilize any shortcut to falsify diplomas.

“If we lose this battle then no one will trust any degree certificate by genuine graduates. We are alive to the fact that the situation is so dire but we are vigilant to ensure that all universities have proper records of all their students,” said Prof Nyaigoti.

According to Nyaigoti, some companies have begun to question even legitimate academic credentials as a result of the threat, which he ascribes in part to intense competition in the employment market.

David Njengere, chief executive officer of the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec), urged all employers to always validate academic results with them.

“After examinations, we issue the certificates, but we retain results which we keep safely. So even if someone alters their results out there, we can always help employers and institutions to confirm them,” said Dr. Njengere.

Since 1920, he added, the council has stored all learner outcomes securely.

“They (employers) should know that there is the confirmation of results services at Knec and we send it directly to the person or institution that needs it. We do not give this to the candidates or students,” said Njengere.

Njengere stated that candidates who have lost their academic papers for whatever reason are also eligible to receive a certificate of confirmation of results.

Nyaigoti stated that the problem is not specific to Kenya, which necessitates a global response.

“The main reason is competition for employment, and since we have many graduates every year, some will fake higher academic qualifications to gain an advantage over others. Our institutions need to have more security features in their certificates to beat the fraudsters,” said Nyaigoti.

David Donche, the head of Dakabaricha Location in Marsabit, was fired just 14 months after being hired after it was determined that he had faked his secondary and postsecondary academic credentials.

Mr. Donche had challenged his dismissal, but Justice Ocharo Kebira concluded that the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government was justified in terminating his contract after determining that he had forged his way into employment.

In a concerted effort to offer a level playing field for job applicants and those fighting for elective seats, government organizations have joined forces to eradicate fraudulent academic papers.

KNQA), which is tasked with harmonizing education and ensuring the validity of all degrees, has joined forces with investigative agencies to eradicate fraudulent documents.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the European Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Immigration Department has been enlisted to bolster the fight against forged documents.

KNQA has also reached an agreement with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to disqualify candidates with unauthenticated academic documents.

Abdi Mohamed Daib faked a Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) and Kenya Certificate of Education to work at the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).

He fabricated a Kenya Advanced Certificate of Education (KACE), a Higher Diploma in Forensic Psychology and Criminology from KISCJ, and a degree certificate from Kenya Methodist University.

The fired KPA employee is among many with good jobs thanks to fake academic credentials, while thousands of graduates are unemployed.

EACC sent a bulletin to public and private universities in October about certificate counterfeiting.

EACC Deputy Chief Executive Abdi Mohamud asked the Commission for University Education, Kenya National Qualifications Authority, and Kenya National Examinations Council to discover bogus certificates.

“The trend is appalling and presents a direct threat to the integrity of our education system as well as compromising the value of public service if left unchecked. It is important for all stakeholders to seek a lasting solution to curb the vice,” said Mohamud.

According to the commission, fraudsters alter grades, change certificate holders’ names, and delete admission data from student files to fake academic certificates.

The commission said academic papers are forged to get jobs or elected seats because institutions are sloppy about verifying certifications, because society is dishonest, and because it’s fashionable to hold a degree.

Several people have been charged, detained, fined, and fired as the commission fights to curb the scourge and reveal false certificate cartels.

Multiple prominent leaders have been accused of forging academic documents.

Two cleaners at Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation were sentenced in June for falsifying academic certificates.

Pauline Anyango and Lilian Akoth worked for EACC as casual laborers for eight years before forging academic certifications to acquire permanent employment, according to EACC. Two months’ full pay.

Anyango forged a Mt Kenya University Certificate in Procurement Supplies Management to work as a Supplies Assistant.

Anyango was charged with forgery, supplying false information to a public entity, misleading a public entity, uttering a false document, and fraudulently acquiring Sh78,698 as remuneration.

She pleaded guilty and was fined Sh228,698 or two and a half years in jail on June 28.

Akoth also negotiated a plea deal with EACC. She got Sh271,901 or three years in prison.

Abdi Mohamed Daib faked academic certifications for 20 years at the Kenya Ports Authority.

Mr. Daib joined KPA in June 1995 and rose to assistant training officer. Permanent and pensionable, he received salaries, allowances, and perks.

In September 2015, it was uncovered that he had falsified primary, secondary, and university certificates to seek jobs.

Last Monday, Court of Appeal justices Gatembu Kairu, Pauline Nyamweya, and Jessie Lesiit rejected his petition challenging KPA’s decision to terminate his contract for falsifying academic diplomas.

The anti-corruption court put a former MCA from Kiambu in jail for 4 years on Wednesday of last week. This was a big step forward in the fight against fake academic certificates among politicians.

Former Kiamwangi MCA Robert Githongo was found guilty by Senior Principal Magistrate Peter Ooko of two counts of forging academic certificates and giving a fake document to a public institution to get in.

Mr. Ooko gave Githongo a sentence under Sections 347 and 349 of the Penal Code.

These sections say that anyone who makes a fake document, such as an academic certificate, and pretends it is real is guilty of a crime that can get them three years in prison or a fine.

The former MCA was charged with making a fake document after it was shown that he made a fake Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education certificate that looked like a real certificate from the Kenya National Examination Council.

He was also found guilty on the second count of uttering a false document.

The prosecution showed that on December 29, 2014, he used the KCSE certificate to get into Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

Githongo is one of several politicians who have been caught up in the fake certificates scandal as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission tightens the noose to catch the real criminals.

Before the elections, Johnston Sakaja, the governor of Nairobi, was in the middle of a storm because people said his Bachelor of Science in Management degree from Team University in Uganda was fake.

Sakaja could only get on the ballot after High Court judge Anthony Mrima threw out four petitions that said he wasn’t eligible because he didn’t have a real degree certificate.

EACC says that politicians have used the fact that certificates aren’t always checked carefully as a way to cheat their way into getting approval in order to meet the constitutional requirements for different elective seats.

Oscar Sudi, a member of parliament for the Kapseret party, is one of the people who are being charged with forging academic certificates when they asked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for permission to run in the 2013 General Election.

Since 2016, the MP has been on trial on a charge that he faked his business management degree from the Kenya Institute of Management.

Also, he is accused of making a fake Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education that said he took his form four national exam at Highway Secondary School.

He is also accused of giving false information to IEBC officers and misleading Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission officials.

So far, the prosecution has brought in witnesses from the Kenya Institute of Management, the Highway Secondary School, and the Kenya National Examinations Council. All of these people have said that the legislator’s academic certificates were not real.

EACC is also looking into whether or not Turkana Governor Jeremiah Loromukai faked his university degree and counseling diploma.

But the governor went to the High Court to fight the decision to arrest and charge him over the fake academic certificates, and he was given bail to stop his arrest.

Fake Academic Certificates Threatening Integrity of Our Education System.

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