Thursday, 18 November 2021

FAKE DEGREES ON SALE

“You have skills, but all you need are academic qualifications and certificates, we are just a call or a text away,” reads an advertorial by bogus company Legitimate Zimbabwe Academic certificates.

Whether they are scammers or they have a way of issuing fake academic qualifications, what still remains a fact is that it’s an offence to sale or buy fake academic qualifications.

Lately, it has been discovered that many people at various workplaces are basking, enjoying packages that come with their jobs while they don’t have academic qualifications to sit in that particular office.

Even though some companies came up with academic standards that their workers should obtain, many DO NOT HAVE THE QUALIFICATIONS.

These are the people that scammers are targeting.

In as much as it is painful to go to university for four years at an old age, it can’t be tolerated for one to buy academic qualifications.

“Get Legitimate academic certificates registered with any university system. Pass SAQA or any Verification,” reads the advert which is circulating on social media.

According to the advert, it seems the Midlands State University (MSU) and the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) are the targeted institutions that have documents that can be forged.

The counterfeit company, even gives guarantee that the certificates will be “registered in the system” meaning they have people who complete their shenanigans from the inside.

The phone number for inquiry on the advert is registered under the name Nigel Tanyaradzwa (maybe it’s a pseudonym) who upon receiving a call from this reporter said he doesn’t know anything about such a company.

“I have been receiving a lot of phone calls and WhatsApp messages on my number with people asking me if it’s possible that I fabricate academic documents for them.

“There are people who are tempering with my phone number because I don’t offer such services. The police are already investigating this case because I am being framed,” said Tanyaradzwa in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

Doctor Tariro Ndawana, who is a senior lecturer at MSU under the faculty of Social Sciences on the department of Media, Communication, Film and Theatre said institutions lose their credibility because of such illegal business.

“In as much as this person is trying to make dirty money out of it, the bigger picture is, it is going to affect the institutions’ reputations that these people can copy their certificates and transcripts for sale in black market.

“The affected universities will lose their value, and it will even affect students who were issued degrees in a legitimate manner because their documents won’t be trusted anymore on the market,” said Ndawana.

Thabani Mpofu, the director of communication and marketing at Nust did not respond to questions sent to him by the time of publication.

Faking academic documents is not a new phenomenon.

In 2015, the New York Times carried a story based on a billion-dollar industry which consisted of over 3 000 “diploma mills.”

These were fake universities that copied and sold certificates for all level of degrees, worldwide.

In October 2020, the chief operations officer of the Zimbabwe Council of Higher Education (Zimche) Mrs Florence Chimbumu was fired after she was exposed by an internal auditor that she had fake academic documents.

Reactions of the matter on Facebook

We work hard to get these certificates. Musatijairire. This will discredit our hard-earned credentials. – Petronella Chaparadza Mareya.

This is not a good idea. Its criminal! – Winston Mathias. Is this item still available? – Shamiso Kaviza.

And what about us that worked for four good years for these (degrees)? – Goboza Nobuhle. B Metro

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