Academics dismissed over fake documents after audit

At least 14 academic and administrative staff members from the Université Officielle de Bukavu or Official University of Bukavu (UOB) in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, have been dismissed after an internal audit revealed they possessed fake academic documents.

According to the audit, the preliminary findings revealed that the affected staff members held forged certificates and academic titles.

“The preliminary investigations from the internal audit found that there are staff members whose documents were forged prior to securing employment at the university,” reads a communiqué signed by Professor Charles Kahindo Musuza Ngabo, the rector of the university.

“All the affected staff have been dismissed from the Université Officielle de Bukavu,” he added, stressing that the institution strives for excellence and was, under no circumstances, willing to employ staff who lacked ethics.

The rector ordered the management of the university to implement the decision on the same date the announcement was made – 30 January 2023.

The audit was triggered by complaints of some staff members over ‘illegalities’ in staff recruitment processes.

Many accused the former immediate rector, Professor Berchmans Muhigwa Bahananga, of nepotism, saying he recruited several family members based on family acquaintances while violating normal recruitment processes.

The dismissal was based on the preliminary findings, and inside sources say that other illegalities in the recruitment process could be revealed as the audit analysis continues.

Université Officielle de Bukavu is considered one of the best universities in the city of Bukavu.

Education experts have lauded the audit and welcomed the decision by the university to lay off staff with fake or forged documents.

A common practice?

Recently, two academic staff from the University of Kabinda in Lomami lost their professorships and were barred from working in any higher learning institution in the country.

This came after it emerged that the two presented fake documents qualifying them as PhD holders and subsequently making them associate professors. There was no evidence that they did obtain their postgraduate qualifications.

In an effort to curb malpractices and illegalities in higher learning institutions and universities, the Minister of Higher and University Education, Muhindo Nzangi Butondo, in November 2022, issued a circular calling all universities and higher learning institutions to observe ethics and denounce any unethical act hindering the quality of education.

The circular, intended for all actors in the higher education sector, was part of several other ongoing efforts to embrace values and encouraged all concerned institutions to always be cautious during the recruitment process – and conduct audits afterwards for early detection of any possible fraud.

Translated from the French by Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti.