Another Serbia's minister diploma under suspicion

Another Serbia's minister diploma under suspicion

Another Serbia's minister diploma under suspicion Izvor: N1

After the Belgrade University said that Finance Minister Sinisa Mali plagiarised his doctorate, N1's Adam Santovac followed the story from last June and published it in a documentary 'Mega Diplomac' about the Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic who studied "at the faculty without professors, but Belgrade-based Megatrend private faculty recognised his diploma," which he earned after two instead of four years of study.

The Megatrend Rector Mica Jovanovic also the director of Megatrend International Expert Consortium Limited based in London, where Stefanovic reportedly finished his basic studies, refused to comment the N1's findings of the non-existent London school and the professors who were said to have lectured there.

After several attempts, N1 received Jovanovic's answer: "You are selling your honesty for lots of money. You're paid to unscrupulously ruin lives with your so-called investigative journalism, without thinking about the consequences."

Jovanovic is a long-term member of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), the main coalition party of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) led by President Aleksandar Vucic.

The President of the Megatrend University Council, Ljubisa Rakic, an academician, also refused to talk to N1.

The access to Stefanovic's school record was allowed only to the state Tanjug news agency. Rakic told the agency that everything was done in line with the law.

The professors who N1 contacted since were listed as lecturers at the London Megatrend branch, said they never taught at that school.

Besides, the only students who are known to have attended the non-existent Faculty are Stefanovic and Petar Djokic, a Minister in Republika Srpska, Bosnia's Serb entity.

Megatrend Faculty nostrified Stefanovic's diploma in February 2005, in line with the then Law on University from 2002. However, even that was not regular because it stipulated the University was in charge of nostrification while in Stefanovic's case, the Faculty did it.

The current Law on High School Education allows the Education Minister to annul a diploma since the unauthorised institution issued it.

Asked whether he would annul Stefanovic's diploma issued by a company from the UK and not by an accredited faculty, Mladen Sarcevic, Serbia's Education Minister, told N1 that "when the Minister graduated the University was in charge of the authenticity. After that, the jurisdiction went to the Ministry. As of this year,  the Agency for Qualifications is in charge and there is also a court for appeals."

In the meantime, Megatrend deleted its network of high education institutions from its website.

"The network included schools in Japan, the US...," Natasa Miletic , a journalist who investigated Megatrend business, told N1.

She said she investigated only London branches, the so-called Megatrend University Worldwide. Miletic said she found out that "those campuses did not exist, they were made up, and I named them Megatrend Potemkin's universities." 

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