Forged Degrees inside NATCOM – By Dr John Idriss Lahai

Who is Brima Ronnie Kargbo?

He holds two positions within NATCOM: He is the Director of Administration and the Director of Human Resource Management (Note: During the tenure of the former (sacked) Director-General of NATCOM, Maxwell H. Massaquoi, he (Brima Ronnie Kargbo) held the position of Director of Administration; but he is now the Director of Human Resource Management and Director of Administration under the Director-Generalship of his close friend and ally, Daniel Kaitibi.

Brima Ronnie Kargbo

Brima Ronnie Kargbo’s case is a clear case of forgery of the degree certificates of Njala University (of Sierra Leone) and Birbeck College, University of London, Coventry University and the British Institute of Technology and E-commerce (in the United Kingdom).

1. Regarding his Njala University education and degree certificate:

Brima Ronnie Kargbo indeed started his Bachelor’s degree studies at Njala University. It is also true that he abandoned the course halfway and moved to the UK (this was during the latter part of the civil war: 1996/1997-ish). As such, what is not true, and for which Njala University should investigate (to verify my claim) and, thereafter, sue Brima Ronnie Kargbo for forgery of their certificate (a crime of intellectual property right), is the fact that Ronnie submitted that, between October 1992 and July 1998, he studied and graduated with a BSc in Agricultural Science (General).

Before addressing the inconsistency in his CV (the one he submitted for employment and the ongoing “fake degree” verification exercise) and his actual (forged) degree certificate, let me first address the issue of the timeline: i.e., his course completion and graduation date. He stated in his CV (on file at NATCOM) that he completed his studies at Njala University in July 1998, but graduate in December 1999 (as stated in his actual/forged Degree certificate). Now here is the twist. If it is true that he completed his BSc in July 1998, he was supposed to be among the students who graduated in December 1998—a graduation ceremony that will be remembered forever (in the history of Sierra Leone). The only time the University of Sierra Leone, USL (Njala, FBC, IPAM, etc, were part of the USL by then) missed the December graduation date was in 1997 (during the AFRC/People’s Army government). Those who missed the 1997 graduation were allowed to graduate in 1998 (together with those who completed their degree studies in July 1998). I still have a vivid memory of this graduation ceremony. To digress, a bit, why is this data important? During his convocation message to students (who completed in 1997 and 1998), President Kabbah said “the backbone of the RUF rebels has been broken” (to quote him). Unfortunately, less than three weeks after this infamous statement, the RUF attacked Freetown (in what became known as the J-6 or the RUF’s 6th January 1999 attack on Freetown). Back to the topic: All the students who completed their university studies in July/August 1998 graduated during this period. None among them was allowed to graduate a year later. It was not (and still, is) not a practice in the University System of Sierra Leone then (and now) for students to postpone their graduation to the other year. By this, I meant, that if Brima Ronnie Kargbo did complete his studies in July 1998, there was no way for him to have deferred his graduation from December 1998 to December 1999. For three main reasons. The first reason: It was not in our country’s model for students to do that. The second reason: Brima Ronnie Kargbo was not in Sierra Leone in 1998 (the year he said he completed his course at Njala). He was already in London, England. The third reason: Brima Ronnie Kargbo claimed he was already in London studying that Birkbeck, University of London (a public research university, located in Bloomsbury London, England)—please see below next point (No.2) for the magical twist in his University of London academic credentials.

Before I turn to Birkbeck, let me return to the discrepancies in the CV/ Njala University degree certificate. Brima Ronnie Kargbo stated (in his CV; see attached proof) that he graduated with a “Second Class Degree.” We all know that all “General Degree” certificates contain the word “division” (Divisions 1, 2, & 3); and the word “class” is reserved for Honours degree certificates (Hons one, second class first division, second class second division, and third class). Kindly refer to the attached copy of his CV. Perhaps this was an oversight. This omission is understandable. In that, it is always difficult to list what you don’t have.

The forgery of the Njala Degree Certificate: I have also submitted (for my readers) a sample of a genuine Njala University Degree certificate. It contained the following features: the University of Sierra Leone (in italics) is on top f the university’s coat of arms. Underneath the signature on the bottom right-hand corner is the inscription: “Secretary and Registrar.” The bottom centre of the testamur contains the seal of the University (it is always visible on all originals and photocopies of the original certificate) and underneath this seal is the signature of the Vice-Chancellor at the time, Professor Ernest H Wright (not sure if he is still alive—since I am not sure, I will use the past tense). This man’s true signature was unique—the interlocking typesetting of the letter “T” at the end of Ernest and the letter “H,” which was his middle initial was very had to forge (especially for amateurs). In that, the “H” of his original signature appeared like a twisted micro-sign of the alpha sign (when seen from the twisted angle of an “H” without the left bottom positioned foot). Moreover, the small “g” in the “Wright” in the original signature of Professor Ernest H Wright only contained a non-stylistic slanted small “g.” This “g” was pointy; it had no twisted/folded tail. The original is long, and underneath the “r” in the “wright” there is a right hash line (it looks like this “/”). The key features in the original certificate are missing in the certificate presented by Brima Ronnie Kargbo. Thus, his certificate was not issued by Njala University. It is a forged document. Any forensics experts will agree with my description.

The abnormal spacing of the inscription “Bachelor of Science in Agriculture General in the Second Division” (as it is, on his certificate) shows that this certificate is forged. Moreover, the font of his name “Brima Kargbo” (take note of the omitted “Ronnie” name) and the words (above the division he scored) that are in square brackets [ ] show that they were added at a later date – they have the same font, but they are different from the font used for the other words. This, against, could be a normal way of doing things—in 1999, right? I am asking you (Brima Ronnie Kargbo).

I know for a certainty that Njala University did not issue this certificate to Brima Ronnie Kargbo. I also know (I am withholding the evidence for now) that, Brima Ronnie Kargbo is currently working with a staff member of Njala University to get a genuine-looking (though fake) certificate and transcript of a completed degree program for him to submit for the ongoing fake degree verification exercise. I am also aware that, he (Brima Ronnie Kargbo) relies on several people within the Board and top management of NATCOM for protection. One of these people is the current Director-General of NATCOM, Daniel Kaitibi, who, before his appointment to this NATCOM position, was a senior Lecturer at Njala University. Brima Ronnie Kargbo is putting pressure on Kaitibi to get him to use his longstanding connections with and contacts within Njala University to get the certificates sorted out before the deadline.

2. Regarding Birbeck, the University of London:

On Brima Ronnie Kargbo’s CV (in his file at NATCOM; his employee file) he stated that he began his BSc in Development Studies in October 2000 and completed it in August 2001. This is the University of London we are talking about. This is the University where Ronnie said he completed his second Bachelor of Science Degree within one year. It is never possible for someone to complete an undergraduate degree program at the University of London in ONE YEAR. Here is the website link to Birkbeck, the University of London. The evidence within this website shows that the shortest time someone can complete a bachelor’s degree program is three (3) years for full-time studies and six (6) years for part-time studies. It should also be noted that Birbeck was not offering (at the material time; and to date) a stand-alone BSc programme called Development Studies. Below is the list of BSc programmes that were (and are still) on offer since 2000 (contrary to what he stated on his CV in his employee file at NATCOM):

Community Development and Public Policy (BSc): 3-year, full-time
Community Development and Public Policy with Foundation Year (BSc): 4-year, full-time
Community Development and Public Policy (BSc): 4-year, part-time
Community Development and Public Policy with Foundation Year (BSc): 6-year, part-time
Geography and International Development (BSc): 3-year, full-time
Geography and International Development with Foundation Year (BSc): 4-year, full-time
Geography and International Development with Foundation Year (BSc): 6-year, part-time
Geography and International Development (BSc): 4-year, part-time
Human Geography (BA): 3-year, full-time
Human Geography (BA): 4-year, part-time
Human Geography with Foundation Year (BA): 4-year, full-time
Human Geography with Foundation Year (BA): 6-year, part-time
https://www.bbk.ac.uk/study/2022/undergraduate/subject/development_studies/

The only degree programme that had the stand-alone name “Development Studies” was the Master’s of Science programme
(https://www.bbk.ac.uk/study/2022/postgraduate/programmes/TMSIDEVP_C/0/international-development-msc). I contacted Birbeck, University of London. They said Brima Ronnie Kargbo did not attend their master’s in development studies degree programme in 2000-2001. So, if his claim of a BSc degree at this university is true, he should provide the originals of his certificates.

Contrary to Brima Ronnie Kargbo’s claim of holding a BSc in development studies from Birbeck, the University of London, the evidence (see the attached transcript) shows that he only did a month-long certificate course at Birbeck, the University of London in 2001. Put another way, Brima Ronnie Kargbo did not study for an undergraduate BSc degree programme. The attached transcript (with two confusing dates: 2001 and September 2005) specified his course name, which was “Extra-Mural Certificate Course in Development Studies.” In an educational context, “extramural” means to study outside, but under the aegis of, a university or other institution. “Extramural studies” are taken by the student away from the physical campus and are often used for those unable to attend classes. Extramural learning may not necessarily include studies under the aegis of a university or an institution; the learning one picks up as one goes along in life, from people, from society, from the environment, from one’s own experience of people, places, and things, may too constitute what we call the “extramural acquisition of knowledge, learning, and education.”

So, the question now is: Did you (Brima Ronnie Kargbo) attend Birbeck, the University of London as a full-time student? If so, why would you come back to study for a certificate course in development studies (for one month) at the same university where you graduated (five years earlier, in 2001) with a BSc in Development Studies (the same discipline)? You made history right there—becoming the first person to earn a degree from a university only for you to come back (to the same university) five years later to study for a certificate (a lower tier short course) in a discipline where you already have a degree in.

Let me shock you (my readers). The transcript for this 2005 course is forged. The date (above Ronnie’s house address in London) stated 2005. And the actual transcript has a 2001 date on it (see the attached evidence). This date corresponds with the timeline (between 1998 and 2001) when he (Brima Ronnie Kargbo) was fighting for his stay (residency) in London after abandoning his course at Njala University.

3. Coventry University or the British Institute of Technology and E-Commerce

One of the Degree certificates (only the photocopy is available) submitted by Brima Ronnie Kargbo (for employment and verification purposes) to NATCOM was an MBA degree. On top of the certificate (see the evidence in the attachment) is the logo and inscription of COVENTRY UNIVERSITY. Below the words “Coventry University” is the following statement (with abnormal/unusual spacing between the words in the name of the degree section):

Brima Ronnie Kargbo has been awarded the degree of Master of Business Administration In Innovation Management Studies at
British Institute of Technology and E-Commerce November 2007

Allow me to shock you (my readers):
Coventry University is a public (UK Government Owned) university. They are located in the English city of Coventry (full address: Priory St, Coventry CV1 5FB, United Kingdom).

The British Institute of Technology and E-Commerce (commonly called BITE) is a private (non-UK Government-owned and funded) education provider (their main campus is located in the London Borough of Newham, East London, England (full address: 252-262 Romford Road, London E7 9HZ)).

First shock: Coventry and BITE did not (at the material time of 2007) offer any joint academic programme. They were (and are still different universities). Yes, in the world of the internet the distance between Coventry University and BITE in London, which is 86 miles (and the road distance is 94.3 miles), means nothing. But what matters here is the second shock.
Second shock: Since the creation of BITE (the British Institute of Technology and E-Commerce) in 1999, they have NOT been given any authorisation to offer Masters and PhD degree programmes. They only offer three Bachelor’s degree programmes. These undergraduate degree programmes were/are BA (Hons) Business Studies with Foundation, BA (Hons) Fashion and Textile with Foundation, and BA (Hons) Information Technology with Foundation. https://bite.ac.uk/about-us/ (accessed, for the tenth time, on 8/05/2022).
Question: If this education provider called the British Institute of Technology and E-Commerce is authorised to operate as an undergraduate/honours level degree-granting institution, where did Brima Ronnie Kargbo get his MBA (Master of Business Administration) in Innovation Management from? Certainly, he did not get it from BITE; and there was no way for him to be a BITE student yet his degree was given to him by Coventry University which is less than an hour’s drive from London, where BITE is located.

OBSERVED SUGGESTIONS

To the NATCOM Chairman, Ambassador Joseph C. Blell:

Sir, you served—with a grade score of excellence—in academia. You were the Regional Director of the Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO) to Nigeria based in Kano and later Kaduna in Northern Nigeria (between 1979 and 1985). So you have a longstanding history in the promotion of quality education; I also believe (in fact, it is true) that you know the value of education. So, I am appealing to you, sir, not to allow some of the members within the NATCOM Board, who want to protect Brima Ronnie Kargbo, to influence your decision. What you stand for is not what Brima Ronnie Kargbo represents. You should suspend him pending your investigations into my claims that all his academic credentials are forged documents.

By way of a question: “In what ways would the continued presence of Brima Ronnie Kargbo in NATCOM impact the investigations? Answer: He is the Director of Administration and Director of Human Resource Management. So he is very powerful. He can influence the outcome of any independent investigations into academic credentials. Moreover, he has a history of being a bully. Before your appointment (as Chairman of the Board of Directors), there are allegations that Brima Ronnie Kargbo either sacked or masterminded the sacking of people with genuine undergraduate and postgraduate degrees whom he thought were threats to his quest for power and prestige within NATCOM. Moreover, his “errand man” (the senior administration officer) within the departments he leads is Adeyemi Coker. Mr Coker also holds an African Graduate University (AGU) Degree, which the Government—through TEC—said is fake and should not be used in Sierra Leone). He is also the good friend of Commissioner Robert Kondema Kargbo, another AGU graduate within NATCOM.
Sir, the continuity of your legacy (of being an eminent person; a statesman; and a disciplinarian) depends on your actions in the ongoing verification exercise. The NATCOM handbook states that anyone who brings the name of the institution (NATCOM) into disrepute should be suspended pending investigations, and sacked if found wanting. The following senior management officials (Brima Ronnie Kargbo, Robert Kondema Kargbo, and Adeyemi Coker) are either holders of fake or forged degrees which they used for employment and promotion purposes within your institution, NATCOM. What will be your reaction? Are you comfortable working with them?

To Director-General Daniel Kaitibi
I am aware (it is a known fact) that Brima Ronnie Kargbo is your “right-hand man” (or, in Krio, “na you main borbor”). It is also a known fact that you were a former senior teaching staff/lecturer at Njala University, where “your main borbor” is trying to get a genuine-looking (but forged) degree and transcript “designed for him.” I am also aware that you (Daniel Kaitibi) are currently studying for a PhD Degree (by distance learning) at an accredited or legitimate university in the USA. So you know the value of education. Good.
Now my advice to you, Kaitibi: Do not use your influence (on any staff member at Njala University) to get Brima Ronnie Kargbo a forged certificate and transcript of a completed degree from Njala University. I know (with certainty) that Brima Ronnie Kargbo has been frequenting himself at Njala to talk to someone (name withheld for now) who was (or is) going to help him get this forged certificate and transcript. Stay clear or else I will release the name of the person (at Njala) and the recording of what transpired during their conversations.
As a former academic, you should know better. Forgery of academic degrees is intellectual property theft. Assisting Brima Ronnie Kargbo to get (a forged) one will make you an accomplice. I have my eyes and ears within the relevant offices inside Njala University. So stay clear.

To the ACC (The Anti-Corruption Commission):
You have visited the NATCOM office, severally, and you are now waiting on the NATCOM board to send the complete files of all staff members who are required to go through your panel review system. But since Brima Ronnie Kargbo is unable to provide the originals (what he has on file are photocopies of his alleged degrees), you are not doing your part to get the NATCOM Board to speed up the process. This snail-paced work of the Board (since some members want to buy time for Brima Ronnie Kargbo) has enabled Brima’s main contact within the ACC to put in motion steps that would ensure that, his (that is, Brima’s) degrees are not vetted with a view of unearthing the truth (that, they are forged documents). I have the name of this person (the ACC insider) who is working for Brima. I am withholding the name for now. I will release the name (and the audio recording) of the conversations between them if the process is stalled or the insider keeps working for him (Brima Ronnie Kargbo).

To Brima Ronnie Kargbo
There is pride in doing voluntary resignation. Resign now. To be sacked for the second time (with the first being at African Minerals) for your degree-related issues will affect you negatively.
Again, you stated that you attended several universities including Warwick University (you said so on the NATCOM Website (https://www.natcom.gov.sl/director-administration/)). You did not say so, however, on your CV. Is it possible for you to provide the originals of your Warwick Degree? You also stated on another website that you earned an MSc degree in Human Resources Management from Robert Gordon University (in 2015; length of study: 2013-2015)—see the attached evidence of your claim. Please provide evidence to the effect.

I remain,
Dr John Idriss Lahai

This piece is originally written by Dr John Idriss Lahai. The purpose of re

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