The National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE), has with immediate effect, shut the doors of St. Clements University College in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
The reason, a letter from the Commission says, is because the University hired a foreign national with “fake academic credentials” as its president.
The self-proclaimed doctorate degree holder, Ndien Peters, had reportedly submitted “questionable credentials” claiming that he holds a terminal degree from a foreign-based (not named) institution of higher learning.
“We have received information that the college now has a new president known as Dr. Ndien Peters,” said the NCHE letter under the signature of its Acting Director-General, Dr. Kadiker Rex Dahn.
For similar reasons, Peters was thrown out of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University (AMEZU) where he once served as vice president for Academic Affairs (VPAA.)
Sources at the AMEZU told our reporter that the ousted VPAA was dismissed by the board of directors of the university after they uncovered a fake terminal degree.
Last year, NCHE indicated to the St. Clements University College that the national policy on higher education requires the presidents of all functioning higher education institutions in the country to have earned terminal degrees, and be resident in Liberia.
Accordingly, the commission requested the founder of St. Clements University, Dr. David Lerconu, to recruit someone who meets these academic criteria.
However, it became all too obvious to the commission that its mandate was ignored by authorities at St. Clements when it chose to hire the “fake credential holder,” Ndien Peters to head that institution.
NCHE’s decision to close down the institution was also based on “Dr.” Peters’ failure to present copies of his credentials to the commission as a means of certifying his qualification.
“Following his failure to do so, the commission considered that he (Peters) does not have a legitimate doctorate degree, and therefore, the institution is ordered closed until otherwise,” Dr. Dahn stated in the commission’s letter. A copy of the letter dated December 20, 2013, is in the possession of the Daily Observer.
When this paper visited the Paynesville campus of the institution Sunday, December 22, people in the courtyard declined to speak about the issue. They argued that Sunday was a non-working day, and therefore, they could not comment, “Because we only came here to attend church service.”
The man at the center of the academic controversy could not be reached as he has reportedly left the country for his home town near the Cameroun-Nigerian border.
The St. Clements University is one of the colleges previously accredited by the NCHE to tertiary education.
Since that time, the institution has been offering courses in banking and finance, development studies, human resources management, marketing, and procurement management.
Other disciplines being offered to the influx of students there include mining engineering, petroleum engineering, and mining technology.
The institution operates under the motto, “Promoting Lifelong Learning in Today’s Global Environment.”