12 February 2013

Rwanda: Hospital Staff Arrested Over Fake Transcripts

Four nurses at Mugonero Hospital in Karongi district are under probe for possessing forged academic documents.

'Using fake academic papers is a crime everywhere in the world, we will catch up with them wherever they are and arrest them, we conduct regular inspections'

Last week, the quartet was arrested but later released on bail at Karongi Intermediate Court as investigations into the matter proceed.

They are Innocent Barutwanayo, Faustin Karuhije, Tulia Bapfiki and Jean de Dieu Ndushabandi.

Western Province police spokesperson Supt Urban Mwiseneza confirmed the arrests and said that after preliminary investigations, the matter was forwarded to the National Prosecution office.

"Yes, in our crackdown on possession of fake academic documents we made the arrests and handed the suspects to prosecution," he said.

These hospital employees and several others who are still at large were discovered after they applied to join the National Council of Nurses and Midwives (NCMC).

In an interview, Agnes Uwayezu, the Chairperson of the NCMC, said that some of those arrested were among applicants awaiting scrutiny to join the medical body.

"We reviewed some of their applications, gave a feedback to the employers that their documents were either lacking or not genuine and, therefore, not fit to be employed," she said.

Uwayezu disclosed that her association has 780 registered members with over 12,000 applicants awaiting verification.

Upon vetting, she said each member is given a license and a certificate of operation that is renewable after every two years.

Fighting quacks

Meanwhile, last week, the Minister of Health, Dr Agnes Binagwaho, said they had increased efforts to getting rid of quack medics that may be practicing in the country.

Speaking in Kigali at a meeting convened to discuss health issues with the media fraternity, Binagwaho said they had made the issue a priority in the wake of reports of impostors in the health sector.

She explained that the ministry, in collaboration with the different medics' associations, conduct serious vetting process before people are allowed to practice in the country.

"Using fake academic papers is a crime everywhere in the world, we will catch up with them wherever they are and arrest them, we conduct regular inspections," said Binagwaho.

The Ministry of Health also works with the Ministry of Education to authenticate certificates acquired from other countries, according to Binagwaho.

She urged various institutions to fight against the use of fake academic transcripts as it is a concern to everyone not for the Ministry of Health only.

Dr Jean de Dieu Ngirabega, the director of clinical services at the Rwanda Biomedical Centre said most of the impostors are senior six drop outs.

"Others failed their secondary education but got dubious certificates, we do inspection and we will keep inspecting to curb such cases," said Ngirabega.

People holding fake certificates were recently discovered in Nyagatare, Kayonza and Karongi districts where in total, 11 suspects were arrested.

In Huye, in August last year, a medical doctor who worked with the University Teaching Hospital of Butare (CHUB), was arrested over alleged forged academic transcripts.

Before he was discovered, he worked as an expert in dialysis and transplants at various hospitals including La Croix du Sud Hospital, a Kigali-based private health facility, where he had worked since 2010, according to police.

On conviction, a suspect with fake certificate faces between 5-7 years of imprisonment and a fine ranging between Rwf300, 000 and Rwf 3 million, according to Article 609 of the Penal Code.

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