The Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) says that 75 people were suspected of forging educational credentials over the last three years from July 2020 to April 2023. Of the 75, 52 were male and 23 were female.
RIB’s data showed that in the 2020-2021 period, 31 people (19 male and 12 female) were reported for suspected forgery, while in the 2021-2022 period, 25 people (21 male and 4 female) were reported. In the 2022-2023 period, 19 people (12 male and 7 female) were reported.
The healthcare sector had the highest rate of reported counterfeiting cases, accounting for 59% or 44 people, with 31 faking nursing and midwifery diplomas. In the education sector, nine people were reported for such forgery (12%), while in the engineering sector, five were reported (7%). The remaining 22% involved other sectors.
Among the 75 suspected people, two faked a PhD degree, three faked a master’s degree, 62 faked a bachelor’s degree, while eight faked a high school diploma.
RIB Spokesperson, Thierry Murangira, noted that the healthcare sector had the highest number of false credentials because the industry has implemented thorough checks to prevent such crimes, unlike other sectors.
Murangira urged all employers to diligently inspect their employees’ degrees to prevent fake credentials.
Christine Mutesi, the Division Manager of Accreditation, Standards and Qualifications Framework at Higher Education Council (HEC), emphasized the need for aggressive action to stop false credentials, while Comfort Mbabazi, the Director General of Public Service Management and Development at the Ministry of Public Service and Labour, added that counterfeiting credentials should be avoided as it could result in job loss.
Under Rwandan law, forgery or alteration of documents by forged signature or fingerprint, falsification of documents or signatures, impersonation, forging agreements or its provisions, obligations, or discharged obligations are punishable by law.
The punishment ranges from imprisonment for a term of not less than five years but not more than seven years and a fine of not less than Rwf 3,000,000 and not more than Rwf 5,000,000, or both.
The punishment is doubled if forgery is committed by a public servant or any other person in charge of public service, where the applicable penalty is imprisonment for a term of not less than seven years and not more than ten years, with a fine of not less than Rwf 2,000,000 and not more than Rwf 3,000,000, or both.
Murangira added that forged credentials automatically become useless after the offender is punished.