Professor expects Serbian Finance Minister to lose academic title

NEWS 03.10.2019 12:47
Source: N1

The Serbian professor who first alleged that Finance Minister Sinisa Mali plagiarized his doctoral thesis told N1 on Thursday that he expects a Belgrade University ethics committee to rule that the thesis was copied from earlier papers, adding that there is evidence that 40 percent was plagiarized.

Rasa Karapandza, a professor of finance at the EBS University in Germany, said that Mali can’t be a doctor because he has no academic title. An ethics committee is due to rule on the thesis by November 4 at the latest. Karapandza claimed that the thesis had been plagiarized as early as 2014, drawing attacks from the authorities.  

“I expect Mali’s doctorate to be taken away on November 4 because plagiarism of this type, if it is legalized, would make studies at Belgrade University meaningless… Sinisa Mali has copied more than 70 pages of his doctorate, illustrations and even fonts. If the commission does not declare plagiarism I will publish more evidence from the thesis that the commission did not consider,” Karapandza said.  

He said that Mali’s was not the worst case of plagiarism, claiming that the situation is much worse. “The situation is much worse, Sinisa Mali’s paper is worse than an elementary school essay which would get a negative grade if that much of it was copied,” he said. The professor recalled that Serbian athlete turned politican Aleksandar Sapic had his doctorate taken away because of plagiarism, adding that the difference between Sapic and Mali is that he was not threatened when he wrote about Sapic.  

Asked which other doctoral theses he investigated, Karapandza said that there are a few that are not by public figures. “I looked at Sapic, (Internal Affairs Minister) Nebojsa Stefanovic and Sinisa Mali whose doctorate is the worst in terms of amount of material copied,” he said. The professor said that the Mali case is very important because he holds a very high post in the government. “This reflects society’s attitude towards knowledge, whether we appreciate it or not, whether we appreciate education or not,” he said.  

Commenting claims by the owner of the pro-government TV Pink that he is attacking Mali because the minister prevented a company which Karapandza allegedly co-owns from selling software to the Komercijalna Bank, the professor said he would like to hear a denial of that claim from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and World Bank as shareholders in that bank. “Mali knows that the claim is a lie and that is why he did not say it himself,” Karapandza said.  

Karapandza denied that the Center for Investments and Finances (CIF) which he co-owns ever sent an offer to the bank even though it was invited to take part in two tenders.