The appointment of Deputy Executive Director (DED) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Randall M. Dobayou, II, by President George Weah was on the basis of a credentials presented to the presidential vetting committee that was set up to scrutinize potential candidates for position in the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government.
The vision of assembling a team of competent, energetic and committed young people that would help implement Weah’s vision for the country seems to have been undermined by Mr. Dobayou who has since had a dark cloud hovering over his academic credentials. Reports indicate that he is involved in academic fraud as his degree and other associated credentials are allegedly faked.
A top ranking member of the presidential vetting committee, who is also a senior government official, told the Daily Observer during an investigation on Tuesday that “young and smart looking” Dobayou had impressed members of the team with the contents of his CV—a development that led to the entire team endorsing him for the preferred post without much hesitation.
“I cannot believe what you guys are saying is true until I do a personal investigation to ascertain the facts myself,” he said.
The Deputy Executive Director (DED) of the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA), Randall M. Dobayou, II, is sweating over the defense of his alleged questionable academic credentials, which have been making the rounds in the public limelight of late.
Reports have been rife in the public that Mr. Dobayou, who currently serves as the Acting Executive Director after his boss, Nathaniel Blama, was suspended by President George Weah, does not have an undergraduate degree, and that he has been parading with are ‘faked’ credentials.
The EPA’s DED in his CV claims that he graduated from the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) in 2013, but sources at the university debunked his claim, hinting that Mr. Dobayou just completed his final courses last semester and awaits graduation for his degree.
Dobayou was also one of several students expelled from the university in 2012 for staging a protest against former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf when she visited the university.
But Mr. Dobayou has since began defending his credentials, noting that he completed all his courses before he was suspended— threatening that he will resign if anyone proves that he has not completed his required courses at the institution.
The EPA Deputy Director noted that the attacks against him are not on the basis of fake credentials, as he is qualified for the position he holds, but rather it is a tactic of distractions so that he deviates from his stance against corruption at the entity.
According to that official of the vetting committee who preferred to remain anonymous, upon returning from the United States where he served as the Secretary general of CDC USA chapter, Mr. Dobayou presented to the committee a curriculum vitae that indicated he graduated from the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU)—while he gave the vetting team an impression through his CV that he holds a post graduate degree in Environmental Science from the Alabama States University, USA.
Dobayou also said that he did a 12-month course at the Iowa Works (Mason City) where he obtained a postgraduate credential in Conflict Resolution from in October, 2015, though many are wondering how he could have obtained a postgraduate degree without obtaining an undergraduate degree.
While in the United States, he also reported to have enrolled at the Vetterott Technical College, St. Charles, Missouri, where he earned a certificate in ‘Universal Technician’, with emphasis in Ventilation and refrigeration.
“I completed all of my courses at AMEU before I was suspended. I will resign today if you go to the school and prove that I have outstanding courses there. The only thing I did not do was to form part of the commencement convocation or march with other graduates,” the EPA acting head noted.
Meanwhile, allegations of unqualified officials being appointed coupled with those who faked their university degrees raged on social media from the onset of the administration, causing the administration to face questions about its integrity and accountability.
Top officials are gradually coming under fire for not possessing the academic credentials previously attributed to them. Some are reported to have made use of dubious channels that provide illegitimate academic qualifications for a fee.
It began with Former Minister of Agriculture, Mogana Flomo, finding himself in hot water after his academic qualifications were questioned—a situation that caused his sacking by the President. He had reportedly lied to the vetting committee that he was a holder of a PhD, though investigation revealed that his claim was false. The minister said that he was sacked as a result of policy difference with the President.
However, there seems to be a lot of contradictions from the Acting Executive Director of the EPA about his academic credentials which are currently under serious microscopic scrutiny. Dobayou is vehemently resisting reports that he does not hold an undergraduate degree.
Paramount among the many contradictions is his previous claim that he graduated from AMEU in 2013 though he has no degree to substantiate such a claim.
Secondly, his official CV carries 2013 as year of graduation, but his school documents, which many believed was obtained clandestinely from some low level staff at the university, carries 2020 as graduation year.
However, AMEU is yet to hold a graduation this year. Some faculty members are claiming that the acting EPA boss is yet to graduate as he did courses up to last semester.
Another sticky issue is the fact that Dobayou was suspended from the school in 2012 for gross violation of University’s student hand book and later traveled to the United States of America, in 2013.
The graduation was held in that same year, on Friday, July 12, 2013, under the direction of Dr. Joseph T. Isaac as the University’s 4th President. Dobayou could not prove at Tuesday’s press conference as to how and when his expulsion was reconsidered by the school’s administration –a move that would have enabled him to graduate if that was even the case.
The acting EPA boss, who has a very active social media presence, has two facebook accounts, one of which is official and carries the name Randall M. Dobayou, II. He indicates on that one that he still attends the AMEU. The other, which is a much older one with the name Randall Masterstroke, has no mention of his academic activities at AMEU, least to talk about graduating from there.
Dobayou, investigation has revealed, is one of many government officials who have exaggerated their education causing a dent on the Weah led administration which swept to power on an anti-corruption agenda.
In more advanced countries, politicians would resign [over] sex or financial scandals, or fake degrees, but not in Liberia—a society with a high illiteracy rate coupled with entrenched sycophancy and mediocrity rendering these grave moral and unethical crimes unimportant to the public.