Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Higher Education has never accredited or equalised any fake degree obtained from foreign countries, a top official told the Federal National Council yesterday.
Dr Ahmad Bel Houl Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, told the House the ministry is diligently tackling the issue and has recently detected 143 fake degrees and pursued “legal action” against employees who have obtained fake educational certificates.
He was responding to a question put forward by Hamad Ahmad Al Rahoumi, a member from Dubai, about the measures taken to verify authentication of the degrees submitted by employees.
Al Rahoumi said recent reports had suggested that there is a new generation of fake degrees available in the UAE.
The minister said the recent reports of counterfeits belonged to Emiratis and residents whose place of work did not demand that their degrees be equalised with the UAE degrees.
He affirmed no counterfeit certificate may be accredited or equalised by the Ministry of Higher Education.
Al Rahoumi sought clarification about 296 out of 9,662 degrees submitted for accreditation or equalisation between January and October 2016, which were turned down by the ministry. “Four other degrees during the same period were found to be counterfeits,” Al Rahoumi said.
200000people in 197 countries, including the UAE, paid up to Dh100,000 for professional online courses
The minister said the 296 degrees that were turned down by ministry were not fake, but did not meet Emirati standards. “But whenever a counterfeit degree is detected, the case is referred to the competent authorities for a legal action to be taken against holders of counterfeit certificates,” Al Falasi said
Call centre agents in Pakistan are impersonating UAE government officials to extort ‘legalisation fees’ from fake degree and diploma holders in the country.
Between 2009 and 2015, over 200,000 people in 197 countries, including the UAE, paid up to Dh100,000 for professional online courses at universities such as Midtown, Rochville, Brooklyn Park, Gibson, Grant Town, Ashley, Nixon, Campbell, Belford and Paramount California.
People who fake certificates to get a visa or a job face up to ten years in prison. Those who photocopy official documents and tamper with them face up to five years in jail.
Suspects face charges of forging an official document, faking a stamp, and attempting to use the fake document.