Sierra Leone’s Education Commission closes ‘fake Dominion Christian University’

Dominion Professor Ezekiel

“The university recently conferred Masters and PhDs to students under a mango tree”

By Alpha Kamara-TVS US

The Tertiary Education Commission and the Sierra Leone police have closed down an unaccredited university operating in the country. The officials of the university are also helping police in their investigations. This was communicated to the public in a press release issued earlier this week.

“The Proprietor and other staff members of Dominion Christian University are currently detained by the CID. They are helping with the investigations as to how a convocation ceremony was held on 26th March 2022 in spite of advice from both the police and TEC not to go ahead with the ceremony as the institution is not a legal entity,” the TEC press release said.

The Dominion Christian University headed by one Professor Ezekiel Samson Bangura operating in Waterloo outside Freetown, was established two years ago.  Few days ago, the unaccredited institution, conferred Master and PhD degrees to 15 students under a mango tree. Pictures of the graduation ceremony hit social media and drew eye brows from the commission and other officials.

Bloggers and journalists took up the issue, asking questions and making fun of several personalities including the Inspector General of Police Ambrose Sovula and the clerk of parliament who received honorary PhD degrees from the African Graduate University few months ago, which is also affiliated with this fake university.

Dominion Christian University according to their website, is affiliated with universities in the US, and East Africa especially the African Graduate University which claims, has its headquarters in Uganda. But that claim still needs to be verified. The university’s chancellor and founder, one Professor, Ezekiel Samson Bangura in his biography claims to have 11 certificates, 5 diplomas, 2 bachelors, 2 master, and 3 PhD degrees from several universities across the world. That claim has also not be verified yet. Others say that’s not true.

The TEC said in March 2022, it published a press release advising the public to distance itself from activities of the Dominion Christian University and any such degree awarding ceremony. It said the initial proposed venue for the fake graduation which was under surveillance was abandoned and a secret backyard of a dwelling house was used instead for the purpose to avoid being detected and arrested.

The commission however promised to bring the suspects to book and further warned the public not to do business with Dominion Christian University and their degrees awarded are of no effect, not valid and are not recognized in Sierra Leone.

Professor Ezekiel Samson Bangura the accused said the Dominion Christian University is legal in Sierra Leone because it is registered as a business college with the corporate affairs, a unit that registers businesses but not TEC which registers learning institutions.

Dr. John Idris Lahai, a Sierra Leonean national who sounded the whistle on the issue, told Radio Democracy in Freetown that there is a criminal network operating in Sierra Leone using fake online education tricks to scam people and rub them their resources.

The Dominion Christian University is also part of the investigation.

Dr. Lahai said after the war, several fake universities surfaced including the St. Clement University which was closed by the government. He accused one Prof. Mohamed Yamba Bangura (Sierra Leonean) and one Henry Egassa a Ugandan of being the brains behind the African Graduate University, a non-existent university with ties to Uganda. He said his investigations have revealed that there is no university with such a name registered with the education ministry in Uganda and all its degrees given are fake and invalid.

“The African Graduate University is a fake university. It is destroying the education sector by awarding fake degrees to people, and some of them are using them to get influential jobs in society,” said Lahai. “Part of the scam is to design degrees to fit into people’s jobs in the country for a fee which puts them at an advantage against others.

He promised to expose all those involved in the scheme and called on the government of Sierra Leone to investigate all those who have received honorary PhDs from the African Graduate University including the Clerk of Parliament Paran Tarawalie, the Police IG Ambrose Sovula and the country’s security representative to the African Union Col. Alex Elongima Massaquio. He called on others to join the fight in exposing this scam runned by few people which is destroying the educational principles of the country.

Dr. Mohamed Yamba Bangura, the country representative of the said African Graduate University who also heads the Civil Service College, said AGU is accredited in Uganda and Sierra Leone just like any other online university operating in the country. Dr. Bangura accused Dr. Lahai of using a false narrative to injure the reputation of the clerk of parliament, the Inspector General of Police and other prominent government workers who got their honorary degrees from the institution. He said he has documents to the effect to ascertain the institution is registered to operate in the country. He said he is willing to challenge Dr. Lahai in any forum to prove the eligibility of the institution.

The clerk of parliament Paran Tarawalie on his part said he received his PhD from the African Graduate University and is not aware of the existence and its affiliation with the Dominion Christian University.

As the issue of the legality of the Dominion Christian University in Sierra Leone rages on, the credibility of the African Graduate University in Uganda is also on the spotlight. Meanwhile, social media is making fun of Master and PhD students graduating under a mango tree circled by mud houses as the authenticity of their degrees also remain questionable.

Police spokesman Brima Kamara said they are investigating the Dominion University officials. He also said the Inspector General of Police Ambrose Sovula has turned down the honorary PhD degree granted him by the university after the TEC raised questions on the validity of the university’s operation in Sierra Leone. For more on the Dominion Christian University, here is their website:  https://dominionuniversitysl.com/

Sierra Leone’s Education Commission closes ‘fake Dominion Christian University’
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