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Storm brews over fake certificates

Police spokesperson Thato RamarikhoaneStaff Reporter

MASERU — A government official working closely with Social Development Minister ’Matebatso Doti, is being investigated for allegedly faking his educational certificates, the Sunday Express heard.

Highly placed sources within Doti’s ministry have revealed that the male suspect aged about 40, whose name is known to this paper, passed himself off as a Theology graduate who studied and obtained his degree from the St Joseph’s Seminary in Pietermaritzburg, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.

However, the source said, investigators working on the case are said to have established that there was only one institute of higher education offering theology in Pietermaritzburg, the St Joseph’s Theological Institute.

The investigators, the source added, also established that at the time the suspect claims to have obtained his degree, the university in question was only issuing theology diplomas.

This paper has also heard that the suspect, who is from Doti’s Lithabaneng constituency, has used the fake certificates to land his current job and previous other jobs.

Claims that we could not independently verify are that the suspect once worked as a teacher at one high school in Mohale’s Hoek but disappeared when he got wind of the fact that he was being investigated for presenting fake certificates to secure employment.

According to the source, although Doti was unaware of the suspect’s background when she hired him, the minister was now very much alert to the alleged fraud and has come out hard against the suspect thus “souring their relations”.

“The minister is aware of the forgery and is totally offended by it.

“The minister was worried and she must be thanking God that police are investigating the matter to establish the truth,” said the source.

Efforts by this paper to seek Doti’s comment proved futile as she declined to comment on the matter.

But a social development ministry source close to the matter has revealed that investigations into the matter are so intense that even the minister herself has advised the suspect to take a leave of absence “until the police have concluded investigations”.

“But the minister’s suggestion irked the suspect so much that he went on a smear campaign against ‘M’e Doti, telling people that she was harassing him and wanted him fired,” the source said.

When contacted for comment, police spokesperson Thato Ramarikhoane confirmed that they were indeed investigating several cases of fraudulent educational certificates.

However, Ramarikhoane would not give out information on the particular case for fear of jeopardising investigations.

“There are ongoing investigations on cases of alleged faking of certificates,” Ramarikhoane said.

Last year police arrested students at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology amid allegations that they had gained entry into the university using fake certificates.

Two officials from the university and the Examination Council of Lesotho (Ecol) were arrested in connection with the scandal.

Again last year the police busted a syndicate of people who printed forged government documents that included academic and birth certificates, Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) tax clearance, trader’s licenses, driver’s licenses and car registration certificates.

Earlier this year over sixty National University of Lesotho students were investigated for allegedly forging their Cambridge Overseas School Certificate (COSC) results to enroll at the university.

Some of the suspects are accused of fraudulently acquiring scholarships at the National Manpower Development Secretariat.

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