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12.07.2004 General News

Fake Degrees for Sale - How Many Ghanaians Have Fallen Prey?

By Public Agenda

A website run by Peter Leon Quinn, described in Britain as a phony character is selling fake degrees and A Level results for a mere 165 pounds (2.6 million cedis). The forged qualifications range from medical and law degrees to masters in English. The Guardian which investigated and published the story on Monday July 5 registered two of its reporters, who within a week obtained a medical degree from Oxford University and a bachelor of arts from the University of Strathclyde. Within a few days the certificates arrived with forged signatures, watermarks and stamps copied from the originals. The Guardian quoted authorities of the two universities as saying the "forgeries were worryingly authentic."

The Liverpool based man who is nicknamed "the magician', because of his dexterity in the forgery business has been the subject of various injunctions and has been questioned by the police on several occasions and released, according to the Guardian.

The Guardian reported that the production of false school results is not illegal in the UK and although the forgery of degrees is against the law the process of bringing culprits like Quinn to book has proved prohibitively lengthy and expensive for the Universities.

The inability of the law to deal with Quinn has left Trading Standards officials and university authorities frustrated that he continues to sell fake degrees to customers all over the world.

"We have no idea how many people do buy these certificates and use them but it must be significant because people don't put money into business if they aren't going to earn money", Guardian quoted Stuart Pudney of North Yorkshire County Council's trading standards department.

In 2000 a survey of 1500 top British companies by the global information solutions found that 49% were concerned about applicants lying about their qualifications. Andy Davidson of the Institute of Employment Studies told the Guardian that fake degrees thriving because many employers did not check their authenticity with the various universities that were supposed to have issued them. The onus is on employers to always cross check with universities.

The question is how many Ghanaians and Africans may have fallen prey to Quinn's scams?

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