ACC calls on public sector institutions to verify staff academic credentials for fake qualifications

ACC Comms Unit: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 April 2022:

The attention of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had been drawn to public discussions relating to the issuance of Certificates (Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate Degrees) by mainly, the Dominion Christian University (DCU) and the African Graduate University (AGU) and that; these Certificates are deemed to be “fake” since the afore-said institutions are not accredited to award such Certificates.

The ACC is also aware of a Press Release issued by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) dated 8th April, 2022, in which the TEC clearly stated that AGU is not accredited and is not a recognized University in Sierra Leone.

Moreover, it is alleged that some employees within the Civil and Public Service possess these “fake” Certificates not just from the aforesaid universities but other sources of fake or unaccredited institutions and may have used them to gain employments, promotions and other benefits in the Civil and Public Service thereby undeservedly conferring an “advantage” on themselves within the meaning of corruption in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019.

The ACC hereby confirms that recruitments, promotions, assessments, reviews, transfers, punishments etc. within the Civil and Public Service are primarily the functions and mandates of the Public Service Commission (PSU), the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO), the Public Sector Reform Unit (PSRU) and Cabinet Secretariat.

Therefore, these Departments are expected to provide leadership in ensuring that employees within the Civil and Public Service hold genuine qualifications required for a specific job/position.

The various administrative and human resources offices/officers within public institutions also have a responsibility to ensure that proper qualifications are used to access public jobs/positions.

In a bid to collaborate with these entities in the midst of the on-going allegations that there are persons in the Public Service that hold these fake Certificates, the ACC is calling on ALL Ministries, Departments, Parastatals and Agencies of Government through their Human Resource Divisions/Units or Internal Audit Units to immediately carry out verification audit on ALL Certificates used by employees to gain employment, promotions and other benefits within their respective institutions of work and furnish the outcomes of same to the ACC by way of referral.

As a parallel approach, the ACC has set up a TASK FORCE comprising Investigators and Prevention Officers, to progressively do a credential integrity review for Public Officers with the mandate to look into employments, promotions of persons within the broad spectrum of the Civil and Public Service, who would have wilfully and knowingly used or submitted what would amount to “fake” Certificates/Degrees to confer Advantage on themselves – as the conduct, once established may constitute a corruption offence as stipulated in Section 128(3) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019.

The public is further informed that, this should be part of normal administrative responsibilities of institutions and that even the ACC had in 2021 conducted similar verification audit on ALL its staff, and reports that no staff within the employ of the Commission holds Certificate(s) from DCU or AGU.

The Commission further did a full confirmatory verification of degrees with the respective Universities, including the University of Sierra Leone, Njala University and UNIMAK. One staff who had stated that he had a degree and it turned out he was still pursuing his degree was summarily dismissed by the Commissioner after the credentials audit.

 

14 Comments

  1. Professor Dauda Yillah and the rest of my patriotic brethren in this platform, as i type this message, commemoration are underway for our beloved nation 61st independence anniversary. When compare to human life stages, this signifies an individual who have gone through and almost exhausted all possibilities of personal development and legacy building; now approaching retirement. In our nation our however, it appears time has remain still, if not on the reverse. For 61yrs, we have yet to walk upright but crawl. We are still depending and breastfeeding from our colonial mothers. Our healthcare, access to quality education, road networks, water supply, electricity, and a host of other basic necessities remain out of reach for millions of our citizens, despite the fact that we are naturally filthy rich.

    Now, an outsider with a curiosity might ask the question, why does such a naturally blessed nation, continues in this perpetual economic bleakness? One among the few reasons is the ‘clansmen mentality’, being perpetrated and exhibited right here, on this platform, by self seeking,myopic, unpatriotic individuals. It is the notion that, nothing matters, but the tribe, political party, or region that i belong. Exacerbated by years of brainwashing and political indoctrination, many of the victims mostly fight against their own interest. A visit to their place of birth—street, village, town etc, will showcase a poverty ridden populace, while their political masters and demi-gods lives in opulence.

    One might think acquiring some level of education, and being expose to a civilize society, might serve as an antidote to such psychosis. Unfortunately, no. Reading through certain commentary on this platform, one can deduce that, not everyone with Western culture exposure and claim to be educated lives to expectation. The clansmen ‘mentality persists’. However, all is not lost. Majority of us in this platform are demonstrating and showcasing the true meaning of being educated and civilize. We refuse to remain in mental slavery, and demand that our elected officials are accountable, irrespective of tribe, region or political party. Happy independence day to all!!

  2. Classic Propaganda is when some one try to mislead readers of this forum that “ SLPP official are drug addicts”, but thankfully received last and final warning.
    Classic unpatriotic behavior is when someone refuses to inform the ACC Commissioner that his close friends in the SLPP are building mansions with corrupt money.

  3. You are absolutely right, Young4na. Online platforms such as the Sierra Leone Telegraph by their very nature and function as vehicles of informed debate, of free speech essential in a functioning democracy, lend themselves in the same breath sadly if unwittingly, to manipulation, to the propagation of barefaced lies, motivated above all by narrow-minded party-political point scoring. Ben Kaifala and the commission he heads are in theory meant to serve the best interests of our nation. Their choice not to take on directly the perpetrators and beneficiaries of the system of academic fraud that is a horrible stain on our country’s image, proves beyond any doubt that the commission is not fit for purpose. To therefore have people glorifying Mr Kaifala’s action, or more appropriately, inaction leaves no one in doubt as to their party-political preferences, orientations, biases and prejudices.

    Indeed, it is a shame that such praise singers choose to look the other way where the inadequacies of the strategies adopted by our so-called Anti-Corruption Czar are concerned. Asking people running our public sector services some of whom may well have fake academic credentials to weed out holders of fake qualifications within their institutions is tantamount to setting big thieves to catch minor ones. The problem therefore will remain unsolved. Clearly, it would be beyond ridiculous to have for instance the Police Chief Sovula oversee an investigation relating to holders of fake degrees within the police force while holding himself as has been repeatedly alleged, one such degree.

    The reputation of our country – once called the Athens of West Africa – is at stake here. Party political considerations should have no place in combating fraudulent acts that make a mockery of that reputation.

  4. One of the downside of online platforms like the Sierra Leone Telegraph, which in addition to providing news reports pertaining to events affecting our nation, also enables citizens to comment on current issues, all with the objective of holding our political leaders accountable. It also provides an avenue of orchestrated propaganda by selfish and unpatriotic individuals, whose aim is to dilute and diminishes the all too important messages, being propagated by patriotic citizens, for the good of all.

    One just has to read the commentary emanating from a certain individual and decipher the undertone propaganda machinery at work. When it comes to corruption or the breaking of our nation’s law, a sane and forthright individual, will tell you no one is above the law. Therefore, anyone who infringes upon establish laws and norms, should and must be held accountable irrespective of race, tribe, political party affiliation and the likes.

    What is common among our selfish and unpatriotic citizens however is that, while they are quick to the climb the highest mountains, yelling and screaming, demanding the opponent who have committed crimes and other corruption practices be annihilated to deter others; the minute their own demi-gods, fell under the same category of committing crimes and corruption, the coverup and excuses by that same individual, doing everything to prevent accountability becomes a chorus. The sad aspect of it all, these individuals appears to have no integrity and conscience, they will lie through their teeth, and changes stances depending on which direction the wind blows. Absurd!!

  5. I personally believe that one of the major “Sin” our youngest, toughest and bravest ACC Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala has committed is to hold the lifetime leader of the “Ayampie” People’s Congress (APC) party accountable for looting our country for 11 years. What the APC government did was beyond corruption which is common in most countries, but their case can be best described as “Destruction”. For 11 years, whenever they were asked about Agricultural Educational,Health,sport developments,to name but few, they always pointed to Roads and the tollgate. Even most of the roads were incomplete based on the fact that most of the funds were converted into the bank account of the lifetime leader and his cohorts. Fortunately, President “Talk and Do” Bio is now in the process of completing most of these roads.
    The MCC score which is the target for most countries around the world , based on the fact that without winning the fight against corruption, it is impossible to achieve that goal. But since our ACC Commissioner helped us succeed, now in the mindsets of some APC members, the commissioner and the MCC is no longer important . ( Nor to betteh tin) . The same applies to the Chairmanship of the AU (APRM) , Board member of FIFA ( Isha Johanssen), African Nations Cup, Best Rapper in Africa , to name but few. That disorder can only be diagnosed as “ Put Down Syndrome” .
    Finally, our ACC Commissioner arrested the culprits during the examination fraud but not the students, which resulted in criticism that he overstepped his mandate, because some believed that he played the role of the police and judges, even though he signed an (MOU) with the Education ministry. This time around, I think he did the best thing by delegating the duties to the appropriate authorities and during the process whenever he is needed, then he will step in.

  6. Dauda Yillah, good heavens Ben Kaifala will never “man up” because he is a sissy, the nation should know that by now. He shakes the branches but never gets to the roots. When corruption involves the powers that be “ben ben” Keifala develops cold feet, the first symptoms of “cowardice”. And thank you for being so succinct in your style of writing, you quite often remind me of somebody Nelson Mandela mentioned in his memoirs – THE LONG WALK TO FREEDOM. He was in prison with Nelson Mandela with the ability to use fewer words on a very tiny paper to smuggled out messages to members of the ANC on the outside, fighting white minority rule. The fewer words spoke volumes.

  7. With names like Inspector General of police—Ambrose Sovula, clerk of parliament— Paran Tarawally, leader of government business in parliament—Hon Mathew Nyuma, and a host of prominent civil servants, mostly with SLPP ties, stand accuse of recipients of fake PHDs, and Diplomas, no one in their right mind will expect ACC boss, Ben Kelfala, doing anything about it. The man is a complete stooge, only affective in serving as an attack dog for opposition members and the non politically connected.

    A couple of years ago, we witness ordinary teachers who were accused by ACC of helping student cheat on exams, get paraded with placards at the national cotton tree. We saw the so called scorpion task force of the ACC, visiting exams centers, doing everything to maintain the integrity of our nation’s education. Now with top governmental individuals involve, ACC suddenly get cold feet. This is nothing surprising looking at the ACC operation over the past 4years. Whenever an SLPP individual stand accuse of being corrupt or wrong doing, Ben Kelfala will switch jobs, and become the defense lawyer. The worst and most divisive ACC czar in our nation’s recent memory.

  8. The ACC commissioner made a serious error of judgement in his position during the BBC interview in which he watered down the scale of this national embarrassment. You investigate before determining whether a corruption offence has been committed and not make judgements before.

    The reason why the commissioner attempted this strategy is the fact that he is fully aware that those in top positions in government are part of this fake-degree gate. No one will be protected on this whilst we wait for a public apology from those with the greatest responsibility in the MDA’s for their part whether knowingly or innocently.

    Lastly the verification audit must be free from bias with the ACC ready to step in where there are suspicions of ‘sacred cows’. It wil be a good idea if every qualification is made public after all they are public servants.

  9. Sometimes, I wonder if this fellow,Kaifala really obtained a master’s in law. Asking the same departments that hired these fake degree holders to police themselves borders on the absurd. The truth is 90 percent of our graduates with real degrees are incompetent and passed due to bribery or tribalism. That is why the country is in the situation it is due to square pegs in round holes. Technocrats are welcome, however a P.H.D in customer service or peace studies and working as a janitor for Royal Mail for the past 10 years is not evidence of ability.

  10. If the aim here is to name and shame those public officials holding public office in Sierra leone to come clean and submit themselves to Ben Kalifah the high priest of righteousness and confess to their sins , one has to wonder how much of our so-called educated brothers and sisters in position of power that can claim they are not aware of the authenticity of their doctorate degrees or any degrees for that matter .Faking your qualifications in what ever field of study is dangerous especially in the medical field .Back in the eighties we had a General practitioner, that claimed to have got his degree from the then Soviet Union.We lost a lot of pregnant women in Kabala and the surrounding areas under his care.”DR DEATH ” was forced to give up his practice because communities were getting increasingly alarmed at the rate of pregnant women dying under his watch .

    Last year in his speech to Harvard Law school , Bio alluded to the fact ,some of his self appointed public officials on paper are qualified for their jobs , but they can’t perform their leadership roles as dictated by their job description.Coming from a president that unashamedly claim he only appoints people he knows is stretching Sierra Leoenans sense of tolerance too far .More like he is stating the bloody obvious.We don’t need Boi to confessed to us because his actions speaks louder than his words .In his Sofa TV confesson , he got the brass neck to tell us what we already know that he only appoints people he personally knows .That is taking tribalism and nepotism to a whole different level .Could have been his old school friends , or acquaintances that has never ran for public office or work in the public service sector ,little wonder Bio’s revolving door of incompetent heads of ministries is one of the highest in any previous government we’ve experienced in Sierra Leone.

    The consequences of appointing fake degree holders in our public service sector might just explain why Bio failed to achieve anything during his four years tenure.You cannot run a country by trial and error .Sierra Leone under Bio has become a gaint laboratory, with fake results.I hope the ACC have done their home work and tallied all the names of individuals that they suspect are not qualified for their jobs .The audit should start from State House .

  11. The Anti-Corruption Commissioner and his team seem to shirk their responsibilities here either out of sheer incompetence or downright cowardice or both. A key problem arising from their decision to leave MDAs to do their own house cleaning regarding the issue of fake qualifications is self-evident. How do you get people in positions of authority and influence in those MDAs and holding fake degrees, diplomas and certificates to own up to the fraud they have committed? Put differently, what is the point of setting a thief to catch a thief?

    It is obvious that the only way to get to the bottom of this unholy business of whether civil/public servants have used fraudulent means to secure jobs and career advancements is through an investigstive process led by a legally constituted, independent body. The Anti-Corruption Commission fits that bill perfectly.

    So, Mr Ben Kaifala, this is not the time for prevarications, for meaningless, circumlocutory press releases and for passing the buck to other people. It is instead the time for direct and immediate action. The fake degrees scandal is a flagrant case of egregious corruption. Please man up and do the right thing. It is the very minimum Sierra Leonean taxpayers expect from you and the commission you head. They pay your salaries and deserve value for money.

  12. Thanks to the almighty that President Bio made Education the top of his priorities rather than running the country as his personal business. During the tenure of late President Kabba, he made sure that they scrutinized most MDA employee’s educational backgrounds before hiring. That initiated lots of criticism from most SLPP members that “ SLPP are ungrateful based on the fact that APC’s employment credentials is based on party membership card” not “Bookman”. Unfortunately, after the 2007 elections, then President Koroma hurriedly sacked most of those qualified MDA employees and replaced them with his party members. He also encouraged these “Fake institutions “ to flourish in order to fast track some of the degrees of his new party employees. That explains why the lifetime leader justified the sacking of his former Vice President Sam Sumana based on the fact that he had “Fake degree”.

    Now the current whistle blower who was recently promised a lucrative job but didn’t materialize is now on the rampage, and now creating the perception that most of the current government employees have fake degrees. Now the APC propagandists are all over the social media, but the Krio says: U draw rope, den rope draw bush”, as was the case of Drunkard Samura Kamara and the Embassy corruption in Net York.

    Finally, these “Fake” institutions are operated by criminals and they should be pursued just like the online Nigeria criminals that scammed people’s bank accounts for years before they were busted. The CID must prosecute these criminals and they should spend some time in jail

    • “Fear not the world, but the people” . In the beginning was a world created by God making you and I to live in it without any hindrance. See what is happening. Let God have mercy on us.

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