Academic fraud accused to plea in 2016

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Windhoek

The group of 19 people arrested in 2014 for allegedly obtaining forged qualifications from Zimbabwe will have to plead to charges of academic fraud next year.

The Namibian Police arrested 29 job seekers in total last year on suspicion that they submitted fake qualifications from bogus colleges in Zimbabwe in their quest to secure jobs. Sources last year said the police were looking for 200 other suspects with fake Grade 12 certificates – as well as bogus medical doctors.

Some of the suspects submitted fake qualifications to several institutions of higher learning for admission to further studies, while nine used the “qualifications” to secure jobs in the Namibian Defence Force and City Police.

It is understood the suspects informed the Namibian Qualifications Authority (NQA) they obtained their qualifications from colleges in Zimbabwe, which upon inquiry turned out to be false. They were arrested in October, November and December last year and are free on bail of N$5 000 each.

The accused are Sofia Nevonga, Regina Nelumbu, Annely Shilunga, Saima Nakathila, Josefina Iita, Benedicta Stefanus, Eliah Kaiko, David Ndemusuunye Shivinga, Monica Itengula, Gregor Mbanze Sikerete, Samuel Samwel Sem, Nghaanekwa Linea Ingavenya, Nghaanekwa Lineekela, Johanna Sackaria, Shaamena Lossina Ndeshipanda, Fillemon Jatileni, Tyson Pickard and Elmo Mathias.

They form part of the group of 29, who allegedly forged their qualifications. The matter has been separated, as all the accused were not arrested all at once. The 19 were informed when they returned to the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Friday that they will have to plea to the charges on January 29, 2016.

The court was informed in June that the investigations that had to be conducted in Zimbabwe have now been finalised. The only outstanding issue is the authenticity of records to be obtained from a college in the United Kingdom. Magistrate Justine Asino presided on Friday, while Joseph Andreas represented the State.

Following the incident the NQA warned against fake educational institutions. Regarding bogus learning institutions and academic fraud, NQA chief executive officer Franz Gertze cautioned parents to be wary, as they desperately search to secure further study opportunities for their children after their Grade 10 and 12 exams.

“My eyes fill with tears when I realise that someone was studying with money, for which three of the goats in the kraal were sold and people went hungry, and then they come back to NQA and say I was robbed,” Gertze said. He urged parents and guardians to approach the NQA for advice before enrolling their children in questionable institutions.

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