One in three academic papers ‘fake’

Wednesday, November 16th, 2022 05:00 | By
One in three academic papers ‘fake’
Industry Principal Secretary nominee Juma Mukhwana when he appeared in Parliament for vetting, yesterday. PHOTO/Courtesy

At least 30 per cent of all academic qualifications are fake, falsified or tempered with, Industry Principal Secretary nominee Juma Mukhwana told Parliament yesterday.

Mukhwana, the current Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) director general, while appearing before a parliamentary committee for vetting, however lamented that efforts to address the vice had been blocked by a court order.

He said the situation was worrying but expressed optimism under his watch the vice was being handled properly. “Our survey revealed about 30 per cent of academic papers are falsified, fake or have somehow been tampered with,” he told the Trade committee chaired by James Gakuya (Embakasi North).

He said the KNQA had linked its system with the Immigration Department, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ahead of the August 9 General Election but somebody moved to court and blocked its rollout.

“Before we could rollout this system, we were stopped by the court on grounds of want of public participation. Our hands were tied and we could not clean up the mess,” he said.

Funyula MP Wilberforce Oundo Mudenyo had demanded to know why the KNQA had allowed politicians with questionable academic papers to contest in the last general election. “As a body charged with qualifications, what did you do to stop people from presenting fake academic papers to the IEBC and what are you doing to ensure that fake academic papers are a thing of the past?” asked Mudenyo.

The PS nominee told lawmakers that he was determined to weed out fake academic papers but the court action tied his hands.

Fake papers

“We had no option other than to respect the court order. Somebody knew we were going to lock them out of the last election and moved to court to stop us from implementing a new system,” he said.

 He said KNQA has a policy where all its employees must have their documents authenticated before one secures a job.

 “All my employees have had their papers checked to authenticate if they are genuine. I think once the court action ends, we need to implement this system. This is because we have no central repository of all our qualifications where one can check and query easily,” he said.

He said investigations by the authority had exposed that one in every three Kenyans holds a fake academic document.

KNQA is a government body tasked with harmonising education, training, assessment, and quality assurance of all qualifications awarded in the country.

He said the authority had unveiled a unanimous reporting portal referred to as Report Cheti Mwitu which is aimed at weeding out fake certificates.

 “In the portal one can report fake, falsified, and fraudulent certificates in Kenya. The portal has the option of reporting anonymously and after you are done inputting, you can press submit,” he said.

The KNQA, he said, is currently developing an audit programme where they can audit all certificates of all employees and they encourage the employers and co-employers to report on holders of fake certificates.

“Those people who have skills such as plumbing, electrical but do not have certificates because it will help a lot of people” he said.

“This economy is managed by 80 per cent Jua Kali informal sector, who are driving this economy even though they do not have papers, we are going to be promoting that as experts in that area can assess you, then certify you so that you can acquire tenders locally or internationally,’’ said Mukhwana.

Meanwhile, President William Ruto’s legal advisor Dr. Korir Sing’oei was put to task on his understanding of the Foreign Affairs docket to which he has been nominated as Principal Secretary.

 Dr Sing’oei, who was facing a suitability interview before the Belgut MP Nelson Koech-led National Assembly Defence, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs docket, was also put to task on how he intends to resolve the plight of Kenyan Migrant workers abroad, especially in the Middle East.

 “Part of the problem starts here in the way through which they are sourced and employed. From the labour ministry we have to make sure we understand the terms of agreement for Kenyans working in those countries,” said Sing’oei.

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