EACC Proposes a Central Degree Verification System
Twalib Mbarak, Chief Executive Officer of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), has called for the establishment of a central repository to verify academic certificates to reduce the prevalence of fake degrees.
Mbarak stated in an interview that the country should provide permanent solutions to the rise in cases of academic fraud as soon as possible.
He suggested that universities and other higher-learning institutions consider using innovative technology to secure the integrity of academic certificates, such as security Quick Response (QR) codes.
The QR code will be used to secure degree certificates and transcripts, which will be easily verified using smartphones and other electronic devices.
Mbarak also suggested that the one-stop qualifications verification system be set up to generate compliance certificates for job seekers to present to prospective employers or agencies as proof of the authenticity of their academic credentials.
Mr. Mbarak stated that such measures will put an end to cases of fake, fraudulent, and falsified university degrees, as well as secondary and primary school certificates.
“Proper automation of the system will provide a long-term solution to this scam whereby, with the click of a button, you will establish the veracity of academic papers,” added Mbaraka.
Mbarak stated that his agency has taken three politicians to court for obtaining forged academic certificates.
The EACC chief stated that the cases have been delayed due to the lengthy court process.
He also stated that cases of recruitment by various agencies in the public and private sectors are common, citing a recent incident in which ten police recruits were arrested at National Police College Kiganjo.
The suspects were recruited using forged certificates, only to be discovered after the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) verified the documents.
Mbarak stated that his agency, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), and the Commission of University Education (CUE), have collaborated to investigate fraudulent degree possession.
“We have CUE, which is in charge of paper authentication, DCI, which investigates forged documents by private citizens, and EACC, which investigates leaders with forged papers for violations of integrity and Leadership,” Mbaraka added.
The CEO defended the agencies’ decision to clear leaders with integrity issues, stating that due process must be followed before any leader is barred from running for elective office.
“There are many issues that have to be resolved, including loopholes in the current laws and the unfortunate part if the same characters are elected, they will end up exploiting the same avenue,” he observed.
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He went on to say that Kenyans are the “last line of defense” in the vetting process, and he urged them to reject politicians involved in corruption and fraud.
The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) estimates that 10 to 15% of all qualifications in Kenya are fake, fraudulent, or falsified.
KNQA proposed developing the National Qualifications Information Management System (NAQMIS) to address the problem, which was exacerbated by the lack of a proper automated system.