Trial opens into Đông Đô University’s offering of counterfeit English diplomas

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The trial of Đông Đô University’s counterfeit diploma case opened on Thursday in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — A trial has begun of 10 employees of a private university accused of issuing counterfeit English certificates to hundreds of people.

The defendants are all former officials and executives of Đông Đô University, including Dương Văn Hoà (former President), Trần Kim Oanh (former Vice President and deputy head of its Institute of Continuing Education), Lê Ngọc Hà (former Vice President), Trần Ngọc Quang (former deputy head of the Department of Training and Student Management), Nguyễn Thị Huệ (former head of Finance and Accounting Department).

They are all charged with forgery and appeared before Hà Nội People’s Court on Thursday for the beginning of a three-day trial.

According to the indictment, during the enrollment process, Trần Khắc Hùng, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Đông Đô University – who has absconded and is not present at the trial – noticed individuals who wanted to obtain a second degree in English for higher studies or to get considered for promotions.

He then utilised his position and authority as the university’s chair, directing the Board of Directors, the Institute of Education and Training, and related units to grant fake diplomas.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, Hùng and accomplices issued counterfeit English diplomas for 431 people, taking in VNĐ7.1 billion (US$309,908).

Police investigated and found evidence of wrong doing in about half of these cases. They could not determine the identity of places of residence or work for the remaining 221 cases.

At the trial, Trần Kim Oanh said Hùng set the rule that each of the university’s employee must manage to introduce or broker for between four and 10 people who want to apply for the counterfeit diplomas, and for each student actually enrolling in this scheme, the employee would receive at least VNĐ7 million as ‘commission’ depending on the tuition fees.

Lê Ngọc Hà said each student would pay VNĐ 29-35 million to receive the diplomas, and in total she had received VNĐ1.8 billion from the students, and submitted VNĐ800 million to the university.

Nguyễn Thị Huệ from the accounting department said the money taken from students in this scheme is not ‘secretly’ marked or encoded separately in the school’s revenues and expenditure documents.

In 2018, during an inspection visit, a delegation from the education ministry failed to find the university was offering second degree without having permissions from the ministry, and the court has been asking the education ministry to review the case and hold related individuals accountable.

The trial is set to last for three days. — VNS

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