Exposed: Prof. Constantinos Berhe has two fake degrees. By Abebe Gellaw

Filed under: News Feature,Opinion |

costantinos

317833-thumb-250x200A lengthy Addis Voice investigation can reveal that Dr. Constantinos Berhe, a professor of public policy at the Addis Ababa University (AAU) and a key operative of the ruling TPLF-led regime, obtained two fake degrees from a bogus university. After claiming for many years to have earned an MA degree from Oxford University and a PhD from University of California (?), the “professor” finally admitted to AV that he got a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and a PhD from American Century “University” (ACU).

The bogus university (formerly Century University), which claims to be based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a diploma mill that sells fake degrees online.In the course of our investigation, this reporter contacted ACU as a prospective graduate student and was offered MBA and PhD degrees for “graduation” within six weeks with a price tag of $4000. He was also granted a bogus scholarship with a total “value” of $15,225 despite the fact that the degrees and transcripts are worthless.

The offer was made by ACU’s CEO and administrative director, Allen Mirzaei (aka Ali Mirzaei). He also added that work experience was part of the academic deal. The CV I submitted to the university contained fictitious institutions and companies such as Yewishet (fake) International University, Con Art Global PLC and Ethiopian Democratic Guarantee Agency. “The faculty adviser reviewed your CV and based on your extensive experience, the University will give credit for 6 courses or 24 semester units,” Mirzaei emailed back.

The Iranian-American diploma mill CEO, further promised that 90 percent of the speedy coursework, which includes “book reports and a dissertation”, would be done by his faculty. “If earning a valid degree from a legitimate American University is important to you, then you must put in some study time (10%), and our faculty will help you with 90% to insure [sic] you have supporting documentation to earn the degree,” he said in an email. Mr. Mirzaei also promised that his degrees would be authenticated by the New Mexico Higher Education Department and the State Department as “legitimate degrees.”

“Our university is able to obtain authentication from New Mexico Higher Education Department and the Department of States of America (Washington DC) for all our degrees offered as a legitimate degree,” he wrote in his email. But Diane Vigil-Hayes, School Administrator and Compliance Officer at New Mexico Higher Education Department, pointed out that the department never accredits universities and colleges as it is not an accrediting agency. The department clearly states that even if it issues licensure permits, based on submitted curriculum to an institution operating in New Mexico, the department does not give an approval or endorsement to an institution’s academic program. “An institution licensed by the Department may not use terms such as “accredited,” “endorsed,” or“recommended” in reference to its approval by the Department,” according to department’s guidelines.

Former FBI special agent and expert on diploma mills, Allen Ezell, and Dr. John Bear, a leading expert on higher education qualifications and academic fraud, noted that the degree scam, which has thrived online by leaps and bounds in the last two decades, has grown into a billion-dollar industry. The business model of the degree mills is based on selling fake university degrees around the world to people willing to pay the price and take the risk, they noted in their book “Degree Mills: The billion-dollar industry that has sold over a million fake diploma .”

No one within the TPLF ruling elite probably wears as many hats as “Professor” Berhe (aka Costantinos Berhe or Costy). A cursory look at his lengthy résumé and Linkedin profile reveals that besides being a professor at AAU’s School of Graduate Studies, College of Business and Economics,he is the chairman and president of various groups and NGOs including Lem Ethiopia, an environmental group, that he co-founded with his longtime friend and ex-President Girma Woldegiorgis over two decades ago. The professor has extensive and privileged connection with high profile businessmen and the international community. Ironically, he even sat on the 2nd African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (2011-2013).

Though his CV says little about his role in the tyrannical TPLF regime, reliable sources say that he plays a key role as a trusted advisor in the security apparatus, having closer ties with TPLF’s top spies and torture czars. “Given his multiple roles, it may not be surprising to find this powerful man of ‘refined’ tastes for good cigars and wine in many places at the same time,” a reliable source said.

It turned out that Dr. Solomon Barnabas, president of the Ethiopian Bar Association, that was set up under the tutelage of the TPLF regime, also obtained an MBA in International Business and PhD in International Relations from the same diploma mill. “After he got his PhD, he thought [sic] various MA and LLM courses at the AAU and Ethiopian Civil Service Universities [sic],” according to his profile on the association’s website.

While some dubious pro-TPLF faculty members like Mr. Berhe find it easy to secure tenure and promotion with fake degrees, critical faculty like Dr. Dagnachew Assefa and Dr. Merera Gudina constantly complain about the university’s discriminatory policies and refusal to renew employment contracts.

Before he admitted that he was a “graduate” of the ACU, Mr. Berhe listed on his Linkedin profile and CVs that he got his graduate degrees from prestigious universities, Oxford University (1975) and University of California (with no specific campus) in resource economics in 1999. When Addis Voice challenged him on his dubious credentials, the professor said it must have been a mistake and blamed the problem on his secretaries.

Since Meles Zenawi fired 42 professors and lecturers from AAU in early 1990s, including six full professors from a total of eleven in the university, it has been permanently haunted by TPLF’s spectre of discrimination. Like most state-run institutions, the Addis Ababa University administration is widely accused of discrimination against staff, students and faculty that do not support the oppressive TPLF regime. Highly experienced academics that are perceived to hold critical views toward the regime face discrimination, job insecurity and in some cases unfair dismissals. Academic freedom remains a far cry.

ACU advertises on its website and other online platforms that it has a main campus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and another one in Silicon Valley, San Jose. “All campuses include modern office buildings, parking facilities, computer labs, medical labs, HVAC labs, biotech labs and solar labs, consisting of computers, medial [sic] lab equipments, air conditioning and heating systems as well as solar technology and biotechnology lab equipment for training.”

Our investigative team found no evidence of any campuses or labs but one-room offices at the sites. The university’s San Jose office at 1885 Lundy Avenue (ACU’s Silicon Valley “campus”) was vacated a few weeks ago while the Albuquerque office, staff by just one part-time staff, is mostly closed, our LA based associate Mesfin Hailu reported.

It appears that there are also other officials and people within the TPLF-led regime who have purchased fake degrees from abroad. We will return on that with more investigative report.

17 Responses to Exposed: Prof. Constantinos Berhe has two fake degrees. By Abebe Gellaw

  1. Mr.Gellaw,
    Your finding tells us as to why the education system in our beloved country is missed up. It is my view, to create room for more fake scholars like Mr. Berhe, Meles Zenawi fired 42 professors and lecturers from AAU in 1991. Those fired professors and lecturers are seasoned thinkers who will question his twisted ethnic based policy and the direction the country is heading. He did not want to deal with that. Mass firing was the only choice. To this day, Ethiopia is the only country on Earth, that fired 40 scholars from higher education institution. I believe there are thousands of people with fake diplomas and degrees who are teaching and working in Ethiopia. I feel sorry for the students and patients that are thought and screened by this morons without any valid education in their field. What a sad affair

    Tesfa
    January 18, 2015 at 8:53 am

    • Dear Tesfa,

      You said my mind. I am so also sad because of what is happening in our education system. As a member of faculty in one of the Unis (Ass. Professor) though I am not at home currently, I always find myself questioning so many things. In general, when incompetent people are leading the education system how can u expect good to come out? In my view I don’t think the government wants critical thinkers to be produced in universities because so many questions could be forwarded. To do this, incompetent ‘professionals’ should fill the leading position. I am ashamed of those in ministry of education who are good for nothing and not capable of challenging the leaders (EPRDF) to bring quality in higher education.

      Masresha
      January 19, 2015 at 4:06 am

  2. Dear, Abebe Gelaw,
    I thank and am so proud of you for efficiently exposing the sham academic claims of the so called “Professor.” Your outstanding work of investigative journalism was actually proven on Hailemariam Dessalegn’s situation of Azusa University.

    Now we know why those some so called PhD’s are antithesis to logic and are seriously morons.

    Thank you.

    Lishan Mulugeta
    January 18, 2015 at 8:39 pm

  3. This is amazing discovery. So now the question is what became of these graduates of the ‘prestigious’ diploma mill outfit? Well to me these individuals were already qualified for the positions they are holding now long before they ‘graduated’ from ACU. This is not unusual in ethnic priority politics. The ‘head hunter’ came across these two individuals who had met the exclusive ethnic make-up requirement but there was a problem – academic credentials. ACU came to the rescue with freshly printed, hot off the press with ‘honors’ diplomas. It looks that this well researched article has shaken them. The Linkedin profile is nowhere to be found. I just searched Dr. Constantinos Berhe on Linkedin and I could not find one. Poor secretaries; they are being blamed for such gross misrepresentation. The dog ate my homework. For sure, that dog don’t hunt!!!!!! Kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!!!!!!!

    Ittu Aba Farda
    January 18, 2015 at 9:42 pm

  4. Thanks Mr. Gelaw,
    Please verify Dr. Arekebe’s & Dr. Debretsion’s credibility. Recently i read about the twisting story about our president, Dr. Mulatu. Guys, you are our only ear & eye. You can’t imagine how i could able to write this. Here in Ethiopia we r leaving in the 20th century

    Samson
    January 18, 2015 at 10:07 pm

  5. WEREGNA, ZIM BILHE SIRAHIN ATSERAM….

    Habtom
    January 18, 2015 at 10:21 pm

  6. This person is also one of the people responsible to lobby on behalf of the government in Washington. When is it enough for the US to stop supporting this junta from destroying The country and people.

    Ayegizie
    January 19, 2015 at 12:02 am

  7. Thank you Abe.You are working tirelessly to be voice of the voiceless.We know most of the TPLF Generals and the leaders are illiterate with a forged Degree bought by the money thats suppose to help the poor people in Ethiopia.What you are doing is very important.The people of Ethiopia must know who are the leaders of the country.Most of them are narrow minded and corrupted.Therfore they will do what ever is possible to stay in power.You are true Ethiopian who fights for justice and equality.I am sure you gonna continue to dig and reveal more forged Degrees in the hands of TPLF leaders.What you did has impact and at least it can prevent from more cheating in the long run.Its so rotten the TPLF leadership and we are going to be free soon.They will taste the real heroes of Mother Ethiopia pretty soon.Thank you Abe and I am proud of you.I am Andargachew and ESAT is mine.Long live Ethiopia and death to TPLF:

    Amsal Kassie
    January 19, 2015 at 2:03 am

  8. This has just confirmed my long held suspicion. Many of the ruling party members including the former prime minister himself have acquired degrees, diplomas and PHDs from dubious institutions.
    There appeared to be a rush to acquire PhDs of some sort, particularly after the 2005 election by the members of the ruling gangs. I suspect they have suffered an immense sense of inferiority complex, specially after being out smarted by a few well read and informed politicians who happened to have genuine academic qualifications from reputable institutions and great achievements in their respective fields during the 2005 election campaign and debates. This lead to the current proliferation of PHD holders among the ruling gangs. They didn’t realise that one doesn’t have to have a university degree to be a good and well versed politician.

    I hope Abebe will continue to expose a lot more of these fraudisters for what they are. They obviously have no sense of shame, but at least the public and the academic world will know who they are and treat them as nothing other than common con artists and criminals. I wonder Why do they bother acquiring these degrees? After all wasn’t their beloved and ‘ intelligent’ former leader who said ‘ we don’t need educated people to run our institutions, we only need those who are able to do what we tell them to do’. It is not like they are required to have these degrees and diplomas to be granted the varies position they hold in public and private institutions in Ethiopia under the TPLF rules today. They only desperately needed these fake academic credentials to cover the pathological inferiority complex they are suffering from and went out on shopping spray for diplomas. This yet again exposes more of the sad state of affairs the country faces today under TPLF.

    The dodgy professor is so stupid that his excuse was a mistake by his secretary !!
    Really!! Since when a secretary does register his or her boss’s on LinkedIn???
    This level of stupidity is beyond any comprehension!

    Well done Abebe, keep it up!!

    Stellar
    January 19, 2015 at 3:23 am

  9. What i do not understand is the reason why “Dr.” Constantinos Berhe, who had a better educational background than most of his fellows in party and knowledgeable, was compelled to lie in such manner and on linkedin? Could lying be a contagious disease. If so, he might have caught it from the master themselves – the late mafia chief and Bereket. if this is on this level, imagine what is going on lower level. God Save Ethiopia!

    Ewenetu Yenger
    January 19, 2015 at 4:47 am

  10. What a shameful exposure of such moron. I am really lucky that I was not ‘taught’ by such fake degree holders ;Of course, one cannot say such people that they are teachers or university instructors ;rather cheaters of generation killing the country not to get competent citizens of the future. Of course, it has been so long when Ethiopian outstanding standing university in previous era are not in such rank despite multiplication in number. I remember,some of Ethiopia universities were awarded in Geneva for research and scientific development international awards which is never heard of recently. Shame , outrageous and vexing really.

    Kibrom A.Get/MD/
    January 19, 2015 at 9:37 am

  11. Abebe Gelaw,

    Thank you for the expose. I like it when liars are exposed. But I am also puzzled by your complete obsession with Tigrians. Please know that We are eyes and ears to hear such stories not just on Tigrians but anyone who is “working” in Ethiopia. I am a Tigrian by the way.

    Embaye
    January 20, 2015 at 1:56 pm

  12. Well Welll Well. Dr. Constentinos born from an Eritrean father and Shoan mother famous for selling her Tej in Adigrat is an opportunist ex Meison Dergue running dog. Thanks to his beautiful sister Felegehiwet Berhe an EritreansShoan committe member of TPLF who was our ex Foreign minister’s girfriend in 1974 and deliberately married a foolish Ethiopian Dergue general in Tigray and continued feeding her boyfriend Seyoum with information thinks he is related to TPLF. Obviously he is hated by many Tigrayans for his opportunistic role under Meison. But But But Give the devil his due. I know him as an intelligent Pharmacy major student in the Haile Selassie era. Let alone him Aba Dula from EPRDF and Mesay from ESAT are also claiming to have a masters Degree. Please Mister ESAT ‘s Brain and Gunbot 7 ‘s Shimelis Mazengia check this news and expose everybody including Major General Meaza og Gunbot 7 who got Masters Degree from the Eitrean Military Acadamy.
    As to the real Tigrayans ex. Deki UKBAY Arkebe of TPLF and Bitweded of EPRP do not at all doubt their intelligence they have Adwa genes you know?

    Filmon Zeray
    January 22, 2015 at 4:22 am

  13. Mr. Abebe
    I am realy confused how you think and evaluate things. I think cntentinos is not what you said. Do you know that he worked with UN assigned as advisor to Nigerian president. You tried to praise Dr. Merera and Dr. Dagnachew. Have you ever asked any student from Addis Ababa University how this two people handle thier students.
    Before telling others can you tell us yours and people around you.

    amanuel
    January 22, 2015 at 8:22 am

  14. I really appreciate your tirdlles effort to notify fake scholars who enanudate our countary
    Specially this time we have many universites ,accordingly your findings
    We may have batch of fake scholars who playing major role for killing generation and loom our countary resorce. I wonder why? Ethiopian education ministry mocked by repatrite educational. CV to get link respective clamed university regestrar and get autnitic. Profile of them. Go a head man findout more to save the generation.

    Hamere
    January 25, 2015 at 11:44 am

  15. It is an excellent work by Abebe Gelaw-and a big blow to TPLF. The photo tells it well how hyenas are roaming the 5 stare hotels. Addis Ababa University administration inaction so far is a disservice to other hard working facility member and student body and total disrespected by the University Administrators, who are also incompetent.

    Costy Berehe should resign from the university or must be fired immediately, he could always continue to fool white people that he has been facilitating. The NGO’s and special interest knew well about the fake professor, but did not care because he was serving their interest in Addis Ababa.

    Fanta
    January 26, 2015 at 10:13 am

  16. Hmmm… Oh my ingenious¡

    Myself
    January 28, 2015 at 3:16 am