23 implicated in academic fraud

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WINDHOEK – Twenty-three job seekers were arrested last week on suspicion they submitted fake qualifications from bogus colleges in Zimbabwe in their quest for jobs.

Some of the suspects submitted the fake qualifications to several institutions of higher learning for entrance, while nine used the ‘qualifications’ to secure jobs in the Namibian Defence Force (NDF).
Sources said the suspects informed the Namibian Qualifications Authority (NQA) that they obtained their qualifications from colleges in Zimbabwe, which turned out to be bogus.
The suspects appeared before Windhoek Magistrate Jermaine Muchali and Tatelo Cuthbert Lusepani appeared for the State.
They were arrested on October 10 at the NDF premises and arraigned for forgery and fraud, Their case was postponed to January 27 2015.
The police are also dealing with between 100 to 200 cases of people with fake Grade 12 certificates – among them bogus doctors.
Some of the accused were already nabbed by Nampol officials and 14 of them appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Friday – nine women and five men – facing charges of fraud, forgery and uttering.
Nine of the suspects appeared in court and were granted bail last week on Monday.
The 14 accused are (in the order of first accused) Sofia Nevonga, Regina Nelumbu, Annely Shilunga, Saima Nakathila, Josefina Iita, Benedicta Stefanus, Eliah Kaiko, David Ndemusuunye Shivinga, Monica Itengula, Paulus Ndara, Simon Adolf, Gregor Mbanze Sikerete, Samuel Samwel Sem, Nganekwa Linea Ingavenya and Nghaanekwa Lineekela. All 14 were granted bail of N$5 000 each.
The prosecutor Samantha Diergaardt recommended bail of N$8 000 but after consulting with the police’s Commercial Crime Unit the magistrate Asino granted bail of N$5 000 each.
Diergaardt said there were still a number of suspects to be arrested.
The 14 were granted bail with the following conditions: that they must report every Monday between 08h00 and 17h00 at the Commercial Crime Unit and they may not leave the district of Windhoek without the permission of the investigating officer.
The court was packed with friends and relatives who came to witness the proceedings.
Some of the suspects indicated they would conduct their own defence, while others said they would apply for government-funded lawyers through the legal aid facility.
On Monday, the nine accused who included members of the NDF at the Osona Military Base near Okahandja and the City Police, were each granted bail of N$1 000.
They face charges of falsifying their Grade 12 certificates. Their hearing was remanded to January 27 2015. They are Gaseb Nelson Dansy, Hatutale Matheus, Calvin Daniel Khoi-Aob, Muhuka Mbaundja, Ngakareko Tjauira, Phillipus Lazarus, Eufemia Shinana, Willem Matheus and Wilhelm Immanuel Pombili. Magistrate Jermaine Muchali presided, while Tatelo Lusepani represented the State.
The latter group of nine accused were first to be arrested, New Era further learned. They were allegedly informed to get their qualifications after they were evaluated when they were arrested on October 10.
The 14 were arrested between October 15 and 16.
Last month New Era reported that Namibian students had enrolled at some universities in China where they are studying medicine, despite attaining less than 10 points in Grade 12 – which is way below the prescribed 35 points minimum entry level.
Some of the students who enrolled for medicine attained low symbols such as G, which translates into one point, F which translates into two points and E which translates into three points.
Last year 10 Angolans and one Namibian were charged with falsifying their academic qualifications in 2012. They were sentenced to jail terms of two to five years.