It is emerging that suspiciously large numbers of Kenyans with faked degrees have been applying for university jobs in Tanzania.
Intelligence officials in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam have started investigations into what they suspect is an organised regional racket targeting Tanzanian universities to take advantage of the shortage of lecturers at the country’s institutions of higher learning.
The tip-off came when the prestigious University of Dodoma discovered that no less than 200 Kenyans who had applied for jobs as lecturers and professors had faked degrees; upon being confronted at interviews conducted in Nairobi, they admitted to fabricating the certificates.
Unable to take any direct action in a foreign country, the university had a quiet word with Tanzanian authorities, leading to the launch of an investigation by security organs from the two countries involving police, intelligence officials and eminent academics — whom the Tanzania government declined to name — who will co-operate to trace the 200, who have since disappeared into thin air.
A senior intelligence official told The EastAfrican last week that the investigation is a confidential process designed to fully gather all the facts related to the case.
“It will be done very carefully and very thoroughly between the two countries and it will take a bit of time,” said the official, adding that the faked certificates would be made available to Kenyan authorities to enable them to track down the fraudulent applicants as well as the suppliers of the false qualifications.
The saga started late last year when the University of Dodoma— the largest in the country, with more than 5,000 students — advertised vacancies for teaching staff and invited both local and foreign candidates to apply.
The university has been on a drive to employ more staff to meet the demand arising from its plan to enrol more than 40,000 students once its expansion programme is completed in the near future.
Prof Idriss Kikula, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dodoma, told The EastAfrican that the university invited both locals and foreigners to apply for different positions at the university and received a lot of applications from neighbouring Kenya.
Prof Kikula said that when university officials travelled to conduct interviews in Kenya, it was discovered that more than 200 people who had applied for positions that required them to have a professorship with a record of academic publications, presented fake certificates.
According to Prof Kikula, some of the candidates had credentials from Ireland when they had never been to that country, while others had professorships obtained in as short a period as six months.
“Most of the 200 failed to meet even the minimum publications needed for them to teach at the University,” he said, adding that they had banked on the notion that the university would accept them without undertaking a thorough verification exercise, since most schools, colleges and other institutes of higher learning in Tanzania are clamouring for personnel from Kenya.