MPUMALANGA , South Africa – A 44-year-old man from Piet Retief, Mpumalanga, was denied bail after being nabbed for selling different types of fake academic qualification certificates from an internet cafe.
Edmond Ekechukwu, 44, appeared at Piet Retief Magistrate Court last Thursday on charges of fraud and corruption following his arrest by Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation Unit. He was caught selling different types of fake academic qualifications certificates.
Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi told The Star that the accused ran an internet cafe where he sold the bogus qualifications.
“It was shop where he was selling these certificates and any certificates that you want, if you want a matric certificate then you can bring him an example and he will design it and give it to you,” she said.
Sekgotodi added that the Hawks were tripped-off and they conducted an intelligence driven operation where Ekechukwu was arrested after he handed over a fake N6 Human Resource Diploma for a R800. The team also confiscated his hard drive, a department of Social Development official stamp as well as other electronic equipment.
Sekgotodi said that the accused’s fake certificate were very deceiving to the point where the registration numbers looked realistic.
“When you look at it, it’s like it’s an original certificate. It is a serious offence,” she said.
The Provincial Head of The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Major General Zodwa Mokoena applauded the good work by the team and also encouraged the public to report similar incidents.
“It is now a criminal offense if anyone falsely or fraudulently claims to be holding a qualification or part-qualification. Those who present fake qualifications in search of work opportunities will not be spared,” she warned.
Sekgotodi urged the public to report these matters and said parents should verify the certificates their children bring home.
“You might send your child to Cape Town and they could arrive and not study and at the end of the day, they could buy a certificate and bring it back. As parents we won’t know until our children are arrested,” she said.
The case against Ekechukwu was postponed to October 24, for verification of his immigration status in South Africa.