Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Chief Executive Officer, Twalib Mbarak has called for the establishment of a central repository to verify academic certificates to curb widespread cases of fake degrees.
In an interview, Mbarak stated that the country should swiftly provide permanent solutions to the upsurge in cases of academic fraud.
He proposed to universities and other higher learning institutions to consider the use of innovative technology that will enable them secure integrity of academic certificates through security Quick Response (QR) codes among others.
The QR code will be integrated to secure degree certificates and transcripts that can easily be verified with smart phones and other electronic gadgets.
Mbarak further proposed that the one- stop- shop qualifications verification system be configured to generate compliance certificates for job seekers to present to prospective employers or agencies as proof of the authenticity of their academic certificates.
Mbarak said such measures will end cases of fake, fraudulent and falsified acquisition of university degrees, secondary and primary school certificates.
“Proper automation of the system will provide a long term solution to this scam whereby with the click of a button you will establish the veracity of academic papers,” added Mbaraka.
Mbarak said his agency has taken three politicians to court over acquisition of fake academic certificates.
The EACC boss said the slow court process has delayed the conclusion of the cases.
He said the cases are also rife with recruitment by different agencies in public and private sectors citing a recent incident in which 10 police recruits were arrested at National Police College Kiganjo.
The suspects used forged certificates to be recruited only to be discovered after the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) verified the documents.
Mbarak said his agency and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Commission of University Education (CUE) have partnered to investigate fraudulent possession of degrees.
“We have CUE which is responsible for authentication of papers, DCI investigate forged documents by private citizens and EACC investigates leaders with forged papers over violation of Integrity and leadership,” added Mbaraka.
The CEO defended the agencies for clearing leaders with integrity issues saying due laws have to be followed before any leader is barred from running for an elective position.
“There are many issues that have to be resolved including loopholes in the current laws and the unfortunate part if the same characters are elected, they will end up exploiting the same avenue,” he observed.
He added that Kenyans “are the last line of defence” in the vetting process urging them to reject politicians involved in corruption and fraud activities.
According to the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) 10 to 15 per cent of all qualifications in Kenya are fake, fraudulent or falsified.
KNQA had proposed to develop the National Qualifications Information Management System (NAQMIS) to address the challenge worsened by lack of a proper automated system.