By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
The academic achievements of one of the frontrunners in the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) race for presidential candidacy, Mohamed Irfaan Ali, are under question.
Recently, Ali has been featured in the media over the 19 charges with which he was slapped by the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) of the Guyana Police Force.
Now, Ali is making more rounds in the media as documents suggest he may have used a fraudulent transcript to pursue a master’s degree programme at an Indian University.
A dossier containing, among other things, nine of Ali’s academic certificates has been handed to this newspaper.
Information suggests that Ali secured his masters on the basis of a first degree from a University that did not even exist.
This was in 2002 after he received a scholarship from the Indian Technical Economic Corporation Programme.
Among the certificates in the dossier was one from the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University of India. That certificate indicated that “Mohamed Irfaan Ali successful completed a one year Masters degree in Human Resource Planning Development in the examinations held in January 2003.
Usually, pursuance of a Master’s degree is predicated on the security of a first degree.
However, the documents provided to this newspaper suggest that Ali defied the odds.
Another certificate indicates that Ali secured his first degree some three years after his Master’s. Academics who have been noting the developments have taken to social media accusing Ali of academic fraud.
The Certificate from the University of Sunderland said that “Mohammed Ali was awarded the degree of Bachelor of Arts, second class honors having followed an approved honors programme in Business Management.” This was in September 2006.
Of note is the fact that the name on the two certificates differs. Ali’s first name “Mohamed” is spelt with two “m”s on the first degree certificate.
While in India at the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Ali presented, among other things, a transcript from the Chamber Business School. That school was supposed to be located on West Demerara.
One Joshua Shafeek was the President of the West Demerara Chamber and Commerce at the time and the transcript was signed by him.
However, no school of the sort existed then or now.
Ali was once enrolled at the University of Guyana. He registered in 1996 to pursue a diploma in Accounting but never graduated.
All certificates secured by Ali were from abroad. He secured a certificate of participation for the Human Resource Planning and Management Programme from the University of West Indies. This was 2001.
Ali also has a one year post graduate diploma for the All India Institute of Management Studies which he secured in 2002.
The former Minister has another certificate from Himachal Pradesh University and National Institute of Rural Development. There are at least three other certificates.
When contacted yesterday, Ali refused to speak specifically to the mix up surrounding the dates of his certificates or whether he presented fake documents to gain access to the Indian University to read for the master’s.
Instead, Ali said that he would not dignify the “smear campaign” with responses.
He said, “I have noted a contrived, concerted campaign to discredit and misrepresent my academic credentials. I have never presented any inaccurate academic achievements.
“I will not give credence to such organized slander to discredit my wide-ranging academic progress by responding to every single element of the mischievous information being peddled and which objective is to undermine my effort to serve as the PPP Presidential Candidate.
“Certificates reflecting my diplomas and degrees are already in the public domain for scrutiny. Further, I am awaiting additional official transcripts from institutions I have completed studies which I will have no hesitation in making public too. I will not be deterred nor intimidated.”
Nevertheless, despite not wanting to speak about the first degree and master’s, Ali spoke about the PhD that he said he is about to secure. He said, “I have submitted my PhD dissertation for examination on the topic: “Design and Development of an Integrated Land Management Model in Guyana” since September 2018.
I am currently awaiting the result of the PhD dissertation evaluation.”
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