13 April 2018

Cameroon: Fake Documents - Government Tracks Fraudsters

Authenticity of certificates and the computerization of the national identification process are some of the ways the government is taking to curb fraud.

Before now, it was a common phenomenon to see an individual with more than two identification papers or bearer of a document or certificate in an institution they never attended. Although identity theft and document fraud seem to have eaten deep into the society, the government has not relented any efforts in combating the incident through several security measures such as the computerization of essential documents like the National Identity Card and Passport as well as commissions to evaluate and certify certificates. In 2016, the government took a bold step to completely overhaul its system of identification and card manufacture for new documents as an illustration of its will to strengthen security of people and documents in the country. Some of the documents on focus are the National Identity Card produced alongside other documents such as passports, resident permits, refugee cards, professional ID cards for personnel of the General Delegation of National Security, with possibilities for extension to other public or private institution.

The launch of the issuance of new identity cards marked a milestone in a process that had undergone hurdles since 1990 when the political climate exposed the necessity to key lock Cameroonian nationality from infiltration. Law No. 90/042 of December 19, 1990 reorganised the National Identity Card processes. This was followed by the Programme for the Security of Cameroonian Nationality under the "computerised ID Card" approach. It was the second phase in the drive to ensure the security of national identity cards since falsification and other related malpractices had made Cameroonian nationality accessible to foreigners with sometimes unorthodox intentions. According to security experts, the new identification system falls within the government's policy to modernize and secure its civil status system which had become permeable and open to all sorts of fraudulent acts. Besides the recurrent government request for candidates or job seekers to certify their identification papers and different certificates for authentification, there is also the National Evaluation Commission For Training Domains Offered Abroad at the Ministry of Higher Education.

The commission, which is chaired by the Ministers of Higher Education and Public Service and Administrative Reforms is out to verify the authenticity of foreign certificates obtained by Cameroonians abroad while giving these certificates an equivalent in the country. The commission has uncovered many fake foreign diplomas amongst which CEF, BEPC, Baccalaureat, GCE/AL, DEUG, Bachelor, DEA, Masters, Doctorate as well as professional diplomas presented by Cameroonians coming from different countries across the globe.

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