“I can easily say that we come across a fake diploma every day,"
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Fake education certificates are on the rise in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region, with forged diplomas uncovered daily and three found inside the ministry of education itself, an official said.
“I can easily say that we come across a fake diploma every day," said Awat Mejid Barzinji, head of an education ministry committee that investigates fake diplomas.
She said that fake certificates also were found among education ministry employees themselves.
“Our investigations discovered four fake diplomas. Three of these fake diplomas were inside the Ministry of Education. The fourth belonged to the Erbil Rural Education," Barzinji said.
She added that the ministry had found around 200 suspect diplomas from outside the Kurdistan Region, and was investigating these.
Barzinji revealed she had received threats and offers of cash for agreeing to remain silent about forged diplomas her department had found.
“Some high-ranking government officials had fraudulent diplomas and begged me not to send my report to the Ministry of Finance about their fake documents, but I sent it regardless," Barzinji said, calling on the Kurdistan Regional Government to ensure that all its employees possessed genuine educational certificates.
According to a government decree, anyone who exposes fraudulent official documents is entitled to a reward of 500,000 Iraqi dinars.
But Barzinji said, "We are doing our job here and we have not received any financial rewards for discovering all these fake documents. We have asked for a risk factor allowance several times, because we receive threats constantly, but the authorities have refused," she said.