Fake PhD Scandal: Sierra Leone’s IG of Police With ‘Fake PhD’ Under Fire

A Facebook user by the name of Dr John Idris Lahai has brought to the attention of the Sierra Leonean populace the academic fraud by the country’s Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ambrose Michael Sovula. In the Facebook post by Dr John Idris Lahai, the Inspector General of Police who is said to be a PhD holder is not a PhD holder and his honorary doctorate degree was conferred to him by a so-called Africa Graduate University, a non-existent university is FAKE!

Facebook post by Dr John Idris Lahai

Not too long ago, yesterday, a certain Dominion Christian University (Yeah) located in Waterloo was seen in a video conferring PhD degrees to Sierra Leoneans under mango trees and in an unpleasant environment. This astounding event became known to the thousands of social media users in Sierra Leone, which later got the video trending on Facebook and WhatsApp. After seeing the video of Dominion Christian University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Ezekiel Bangura awarding fake PhD degrees to their students, the IG, Mr Sovula, who himself is an accomplice and offender of the academic fraud initiated by Dominion Christian University, ordered the arrest of Dr Ezekiel Bangura and was apprehended by the police for conferring unrecognized Doctorates to their graduates. That moment attracted speculations and the attention of trolls.

IG Sovula in number 08

Many would recall that Sierra Leone’s Inspector General of Police, Ambrose Michael Sovula, was awarded an honorary doctorate degree some months ago by a non-existent university in Uganda, Africa Graduate University. This hoax feat was glaringly published across the IG’s Facebook account and the official website of the Sierra Leone Police Force. He had opted for enrollment at the Africa Graduate University (AGU) in Uganda, to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Leadership and Strategic Management. On 22nd January 2021, he was conferred with a Doctorate Degree in absentia.

Unbeknown to the Inspector General, his award and conferment were heavily marred with falsehood and scam. Findings from concerned Sierra Leoneans showed that AGU is not a recognized institution in Uganda and doesn’t exist. In fact, what arouses strong suspicion, is that the students belonging to the institution are all Sierra Leoneans. Logically, for a university situated in a landlocked country, there should be an adequate presence felt by its own citizens or even other nationals. A university speculatively believed to have a base in Uganda does not have any Ugandan students.

Sierra Leone Police celebrate IG Sovula’s Fake PhD

Although an internet search would discard such a riveting exposé, it is just clear that the Inspector General is found wanting of academic fraud. A finding established by one concerned citizen mentioned that the University can only be traced to one self-acclaimed fake Professor Yamba Bangura, Sierra Leone, who serves as the Vice-Chancellor of the so-called university.

This is not the only academic fraud that has been committed by the Inspector General of Police. On the 27th of September 2020, the IG was seen conferred with another fake PhD degree in the Eastern city of Kenema, Sierra Leone. He was awarded an honorary PhD degree in Christian Education by Covenant Hope College in Kenema District, which turned out to be an unrecognized tertiary institution by the Tertiary Education Commission, Sierra Leone and the Ministry of Tertiary and Higher Education. In fact, the Tertiary Education Commission of Sierra Leone clearly stated after coming in contact with the news that, the said college, Covenant Hope College is accredited to offer only Certificates and Diploma Programmes accredited by the National Council for Technical Vocational and Academic Awards (NCTVA) and that it has not recognized any affiliation between Covenant Hope College and Grace International Bible University in Liberia and the United States of America.

In the press release by the Tertiary Education Commission, they furthered by saying, “The Commission, therefore, considers the award of degrees as illegal and unauthorized and as such, the degrees granted are therefore not recognized and cannot be used for the gainful purpose in Sierra Leone.”

The press release furthered that upon the breach of the Tertiary Education Commission Act 2001 and its regulations (2006), in particular, clauses 11(1) and 12 on the obligation of accredited tertiary education by Covenant Hope College; Tertiary Education Commission, therefore, suspended Covenant Hope College accreditation with immediate effect, degrees awarded by this college are null and void and of no effect. This means the Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police Force had to forfeit his fake PhD degree issued to him by Covenant Hope College in Kenema.

Mr. Ambrose Michael Sovula is a man of many controversies. In 2021, a report published by Salone Compass Newspaper showed that the Inspector General lied about his age. In the publication by Salone Compass Newspaper, Mr Sovula’s younger sister is said to be 65 years old whilst the IG in his birth report says he’s 61. According to the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) laws, the mandatory retirement age is sixty years.

Although the IG may be the principal focus of this PhD scandal, the Clerk of the Sierra Leone Parliament, Mr. Paran Umar Tarawally is also an offender of the Fake PhD degree scandal. He’s one of those that was conferred with a PhD degree from the non-existent and facade Africa Graduate University.

Sierra Leone Clerk of Parliament

IMPLICATIONS

In South Africa, ANC MP Pallo Jordan was heavily scrutinized after revelations showed he had acquired a fake doctorate. His party assumed a foremost command in the scrutinization. Out of shame, Pallo Jordan resigned his position as Member of Parliament. Another similar instance is that of German Education Minister Annette Schavan quits her role as Minister of Education over PhD plagiarism

In that same regard, there are growing calls demanding the immediate resignation of the Inspector General.

While these concerns have been raised by many, the IG still remains the head of the Sierra Leone Police Force and there’s no chance of him resigning from his position as the Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police Force. This is academic fraud and theft and the IG and the Clerk of the Sierra Leone Parliament must resign from their positions for sanity to prevail.

Author: Delvid Stanley-Coker

Delvid Stanley-Coker is a dedicated writer for The African Dream. His passion and desire to publicize the appreciable department of Africa, and voicing out the prevalent ills of society has adequately contributed to the promulgation of stories of different sort. He finds pleasure in reading novels, listening to soothing songs, and play video games for leisure purposes.