Wednesday, August 24, 2005

August 24, 2005: Jakarta Post: Police target illegal institutes

The Jakarta Post
August 24, 2005


After sealing off the Institut Manajemen Global Indonesia (IMGI) for allegedly selling fake academic titles, the National Police said on Tuesday they were investigating 19 additional educational institutions. National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Saud Usman Nasution said the 19 institutions were reportedly operating in Jakarta without licenses from the Directorate General of Higher Education at the Ministry of National Education.

The institutes include the International University Transfer Program, the International Agyata Foundation, the American Management University, the American International Institute of Management and Technology, the Washington International University, San Pedro College of Business Administration and Kennedy Western University.

"Their operations are similar to that of IMGI, which offered fake diplomas to the public for small amounts of money," Saud said.

He said the names of the 19 institutions had been obtained from the Ministry of Education.

The police have yet to make any arrests and are still gathering evidence against the institutes.

IMGI was reportedly working with American World University, Northern California Global University, Jakarta International Management Studies and Senior University to issue allegedly unauthorized diplomas, ranging from bachelor's degrees to doctorates.

As the investigation proceeded into IMGI, its graduates began to return their fictitious diplomas to the police.

Another National Police spokesman, Brig. Gen. Soenarko, said his office received a master's and a PhD issued by IMGI in May 2001.

The academic certificates were turned in by a graduate identified only by the initials SW.

"We promise that graduates who willingly return their certificates will face a less harsh punishment," Soenarko said.

He said the IMGI database showed that more than 100 PhDs and approximately 400 masters of science were issued by the institute.

To receive the degrees, it is alleged people simply had to pay between Rp 1.5 million (US$ 150) and Rp 5 million.

Several top government officials, including a former vice president and former Cabinet ministers, along with Muslim clerics and a number of retired senior police officers, are among the some 5,000 graduates of IMGI.

If these graduates are found to have used their academic titles from the unregistered educational institute, they could face up to five years in jail or a maximum fine of Rp 500 million (US$ 50,500), according to the National Education Law.

Eva C. Komandjaja, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

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