Hubs of several individuals claiming to be holders of terminal degrees from creditable foreign-based institutions have been discovered in Monrovia.Most of those in the web have reportedly been transitioning from one institution of higher learning in the country to other entities of substance.Those masquerading (cloaking, passing themselves off) with fake academic credentials were recently discovered to be mainly based in Monrovia, gainfully employed with various ministries, agencies and institutions of higher learning.Among the reported intellectual fraudsters were those destined for Gbarnga, Bong County, where the Cuttington University (CU) is said to be ripe for employment.Following the recent discovery of the ring of academic ‘fraudsters,’ it is being reported that among those involved are some highly placed officials, who should soon face investigation. The pending investigation is expected to be led by authorities at the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) and other stakeholders to include personnel from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).According to documents in possession of the Daily Observer, some of the suspected academic ‘fraudsters’ have for many years, been misleading the public about their so-called academic achievements.Copies of some of the fake credentials in possession of this paper contain information highly inconsistent, contestable and debatable. For example, photo-copies of the ‘To Whom It May Concern,’ terminal degree of one of the academic fraudsters carries a different metric number against a purported transcript with a conflicting metric number.In another case, the date of graduation on one set of documents dating back to 2008 differs from the document’s transcript, dated 2005. Most of the documents involved are from ‘universities’ in Nigeria. “These are some of the most sharp contrasts in the academic industry especially with intellectual property that must be well-arranged and structured,” one highly placed source in the country’s education sector observed.Additionally, one of the fakers, now gainfully employed with a Liberian-based entity, made his getaway after he reportedly submitted ‘fake credentials’ with misspelt words and poor grammar on the purported degree.Apparently, the board of interviewers missed a gross misspelling of ‘Columbia,’ printed on the submitted terminal degree; or did the Board decide to turn a blind eye?Our investigation discovered that one fraudster claimed that his documents had been issued by Columbia University, based in the Washington District of the United States of America. Columbia University is actually based in New York.The documents of another fraudster contained two different spellings of the name of the same ‘graduate’ who claimed to be in possession of a terminal degree in education.Our investigation has further discovered that most of those involved with such academic fraud are acquainted with each other.The universities from which some of the individuals claimed to have graduated cannot be found online; when found, their names are never on the listing of any of the graduating classes.With this latest development in the educational sector of the country, both the Ministry of Education (MOE) and NCHE have promised to conduct separate investigations into the alleged academic scams.MOE’s director of communications, J. Maxime Bleetahn, confirmed the information on the fraudulent activities in the sector.He told this paper via mobile phone over the weekend that the Ministry will not take the allegations lightly because those acts are some of the academic frauds that have besmeared the country’s educational system.The discovery of people with false intellectual credentials was made recently following the discovery of one Ndien Peters with false credentials while serving as vice president for academic affairs at the St. Clements University. This situation compelled the NCHE to order the institution closed on grounds that it had employed an academic fraudster.Another incident included the recent exposure of a ‘fake’ degree granting institution—CUSWORTH International Business School— based somewhere in Fiama, Monrovia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Download AudioSince the start of the year, Anchorage has seen eight homicides and a spate of shootings. Today, officials say the incidents in Alaska’s largest city is a spike, but not an overall rise in violent crime. The press conference at City Hall was, just hours after a stabbing victim was pronounced dead following an early morning dispute. The pronouncement is at odds with a widespread concerns over public safety.While the Anchorage Police Department can’t point to any one cause, Deputy Chief Myron Fanning says in his 23 years on the force he’s seen waves of violent crime like this before.“Occasionally you’ll have a spike, and sometimes we’re able to identify the reasons, and sometimes not,” Fanning said.A task force assembled in February made up of federal, state, and local agencies has made 26 arrests, and solved all but one of the recent homicide cases, Fanning said. In the process they’ve seized hard drugs like heroin and methamphetamine, 40 illegal guns, and $35,000 in cash. But Fanning says while there are similarities in the homicide cases, they aren’t connected by any pattern.“I mean, like I said, they’re all high-risk type lifestyles that they’re involved in–they all are either associated with drugs or alcohol,” Fanning said. “But I don’t know why last January we had two, and this January we had four, I don’t know, it just happens sometimes like that.”Fanning said the task force continues investigating January’s double homicide in East Anchorage.Mayor Dan Sullivan echoed the high profile crimes being a blip rather than an upward trend. Looking at the data, Sullivan said, it’s important to not miss the forest for the trees, as Anchorage’s five-year average for major crimes continues to fall.“There’s fewer crimes reported now than there were 30 years ago when we were 120,000 people fewer in this city,” he said. “2014, for example, we saw the lowest number of murders in 20 years in Anchorage. And we always caution folks when they see a spike in one activity or another that it doesn’t really mean Anchorage has somehow become more dangerous. We look at trends, and the trends are very good.”That is a hard sell when concerns over public safety are emerging as the biggest political issue in this year’s mayor’s race. Sullivan’s approach to staffing levels at APD has been controversial. Two years-worth of academies canceled during his tenure to curb spending have meant a smaller force. During a recent forum on public safety all eight candidates in attendance agreed on the need for more police officers, though details on paying for them remain hazy.What you do with those officers is a trickier question. Sullivan said it is inaccurate to assume more police necessarily leads to less crime.In fact, he said the numbers prove you can have an effective force by just apportioning man-hours differently. According to Fanning, a combination of flex time and using local partnerships helped the police department quickly make arrests without racking up overtime hours. What’s less clear in the numbers is whether the resources are there to proactively have police out in Anchorage’s neighborhoods before violence occurs.