Ambassador Thomas Must Openly Address The Issue of His Credentials, As Revealed By The Liberian Community In France…
By: Patrick Tokpa Johnson
In the course of human events, it’s almost inevitable that somewhere and some time, at some decisive point, displeasures will flare and someone will say something unpleasant about someone else. These unpleasant things are often right but it is the responsibility of those being accused to prove his accusers wrong, therefore when one educational and academic credentials are brought into question, all must be done to prove the skeptics satisfactorily erroneous. It indeed often happens especially at work places either between the boss and the workforce or between the community and public officials.
For the past one month, I have read chronological letters addressed to the president of Liberia from both the Liberian Communities in Rome, Italy, and Paris, France. These letters posted on the various websites, under the signatures and contacts of members of the two communities make startling allegations against two of our senior diplomats, namely Ambassador Mohammed Sheriff of the Embassy of Liberia in Rome, Italy, and Ambassador Dudley McKinley Thomas, former head of the Embassy of Liberia in Paris, France.
These accusations, which of course, I believe may have landed on the desk of the president, are not just mere issues, but contained importance issues that MUST be treated with speedy urgency. These letters from the Liberian Communities in Italy and France have been posted on the widely read online news magazine-Frontpageafricaonline Website and other major newspapers’ website in the country. Read- http://www.frontpageafricaonline.com/index.php/op-ed/letters-comments/1682-liberian-community-in-france-writes-president-sirleaf. To acknowledge, the contexts of these communications are disturbing, the two ambassadors accused separately need to do the honorable thing to publicly speak out, else their elongated since will prove the contrary. I have no interest either a stick to play but as a graduate student of the Florida state University majoring in Environmental Law and Policy and as a patriotic Liberian, I am concerned about unfolding developments from our Embassies in Italy and France, particularly referred to Thomas’s disputed Environmental Degree.
This field of reading is not for joke, its require hard study, thoroughly research and lots of presentations on varieties of environmental subjects. As a lucrative field of study, graduates in environmental sciences are among the well paid people around the world; you are always marketable and never go out of job. Secondly, I wondered how can our ambassador who claimed to hold degree in Environmental Science find himself in the diplomatic area when our country lack of well trained and educated ecologists.
While the purpose of this article is not to bring guilty verdict against any of the opposing sides, the intent of this article is to discuss the central point each of the two letters from the Liberian Communities in Italy and France pinpointed out, as regards administrative incompetency and awful leadership by the two ambassador-Mr. Sheriff and Mr. Mckinley Thomas. I wondered if these two guys are fully aware that truly, effective leaders are also distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. For Ambassador Sheriff, I have read tones of reaction on Ambassador Sheriff behalf but I think the ambassador, who even though I have not met either interacted with, but has great respect for will publicly speak out to disprove the damaging claims from our brother and sisters in Rome. The authors of these letters are the president and secretary-general of the Liberian Community in France, Mr. George Carr Nyemah and Christopher Octavius Varney, and Mr. Festus Nagbe, secretary-general of Liberian in Italy.
Having read the letters over and over again, I found direct ties between the both Liberian Communities’ Letters addressed to President Johnson-Sirleaf. As such, let me first focus my discussions on the significant point documented in the letter of the Liberian Community in France against former Ambassador Thomas. Others might say why I should be selective and not generally discuss all that have been mentioned in the letter, of course it is right but I want to restrict my discussions to serious issues that attract my attention. My attention has been drawn to Ambassador McKinley Thomas’ educational and academic credential (his BSc Degree in Environmental Design Architecture) which the Liberian Community in France described as bogus, fake and counterfeit degree. The field which Ambassador Thomas claimed to earned a degree is not a “play-play” subject. And let me asked; What was the Ambassador’s Thesis topic? Can he give us any reference? The Internet has made it much easier to verify a person’s claims about his or her education. Hope this is not the case of Mr. Nyundueh Monkonmanh, former speaker of Charles Taylor’s administration who was forced to resign due to fake degree.?
The leadership of the Liberian Community in France letter dated 7 May 2014 among several allegations, which are yet to be responded to by former Ambassador Thomas, says the Community is not surprised because Ambassador Dudley McKinley Thomas who have not attended any college in his life has faked his BSc Degree and falsified his academic education by lying that he is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma in America with a BSc in Environment Design Architecture. They said; “Mama President, Ambassador Thomas in his fake degree that he put on the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) website he failed to mention the date and year that he graduated from Oklahoma University”. Please browse at http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Dudley-Thomas/800340318. Thank God for advanced ITC, Ambassador Thomas’s BSc Degree has been clearly stated in bold print on this website but unfortunately, no date, year, place and school mentioned. In order to put to rest the ambassador’s disputed degree, he needs to prove his accusers wrong by making public his BSc Degree, failure would spell guilt.
The Liberian Community in France’s letter further states that :”Mama President, the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma State University both in Oklahoma in the USA told us after a contact with the schools in official letters, it was established that both universities have no record of anyone called Dudley McKinley Thomas from Liberian who attended nor graduated from the universities. The Liberian Community alleged that the administration of both Oklahoma Universities confirmed in their letters to it that since the Schools were founded, the Universities have never given any degree in Environment Design Architecture, and instead they have offered degrees in Environment Sciences. To do justice to this subject, I again glanced at the School’s website and observed that the two universities do not offer any degree course in environmental design architecture; they offer degrees in environmental sciences. Please browse at: http://www.ou.edu/ and http://go.okstate.edu/.
In the letter, the Liberian Community also registered its disappointment. The letter reads: “We are disappointed that a man like Ambassador McKinley Thomas with big government job will fake his academic and educational credential by fabricating degree that he did not earn in his life. This is academic crime, the Liberian Community noted, describing the Ambassador Thomas degree as counterfeit and bogus, saying that he has done a disservice to the public by lying under orth. “let it be cleared that he does not hold any degree,” the letter indicates. They continued: “We are therefore challenging him to prove us wrong. If he thinks that we are lying on him, let him send us copy of his BSc Degree through our email above or let him call us on +33751852826 to give us the date, time and year that he graduated and the department. We challenged Ambassador Thomas; he will never make any attempt. Mama President, Ambassador Thomas is bad and wicked, as a 419 ambassador; he fooled some of our friends including our president George Carr Nyemah to do all sorts of crooked things for him.”
The letter further indicated that Ambassador Thomas has a very poor human relation-comparing him to a living evil spirit and said he is a wicked Liberian that they have ever seen in France. “Mama President for the ten years that Mr. Thomas was ambassador in France for our country Liberia since June 2005, we the entire Liberian community in France have been ill-treated by him. He never used to allow us to enter our embassy freely. He used to always refer to our embassy as “his embassy”. He used to personalize the embassy as his private and personal farm and treated Liberians in France as animals for nine years since his appointment in June 2005.” The Liberian Community in France also alleged that prior to Ambassador Thomas’ departure from his lucrative assignment in France, he begged some of their friends to have him honored at the Liberian Embassy in Paris so that in return, he would reward them with 5,000 Euros but only ended providing 1,000 Euros after the self-styled honoring program which they said was requested in order to help build Ambassador Thomas’ poor images.
I believe that there are two sides to every story and until the ambassador can visibly clarify the worrisome issues such as bogus degree and payment to be honored raised by our brothers and sisters in France, no one will like to sympathize with Ambassador Thomas if at all he has not enrolled at any higher institution of learning to earn his degree because he has all the necessary financial support; his father according to credible information has a well-paid job as Chief Clerk of the Liberian Senate during the Administration of the late President William Richard Tolbert.
Furthermore, Ambassador Thomas has lived most of his life in America and Europe, with no doubt, he has the opportunity to further his education but deliberately failed to take advantage of the given opportunity which others are desperately wishing to come their ways. Secondly, why should Ambassador Thomas reportedly pay people to have him honored? Is he not aware that honors are bestowed on people in recognitions of their valuable and dedicated services to duty, state, community and people, church, etc.?
Let Ambassador D. McKinley Thomas remember that no amount of cash can buy honor the same as money cannot buy happiness. The over 15 years ambassador McKinley Thomas spent in Europe, from Brussels to France, if he had at least enrolled in any recognized university or higher learning institution with just a course per semester, by now he should have completed and earned his just and praiseworthy degree instead of faking BSc Degree. What lesson does this guy who represents our country in foreign land is passing over to unborn generation? I am profoundly disappointed; I understand from flying rumors that he is being reassigned to the People’s Republic of China as Liberia Ambassador. I doubt this development because how can such a person represent the image of our country to the world’s second biggest economy?
The accusations from president and secretary-general of the Liberian Community in France, Mr. George Carr Nyemah and Christopher Octavius Varney must be addressed by the Ambassador; he cannot tell the public that he (Mckinley Thomas doesn’t know these two Liberians because there are several articles posted on the various websites where they have defined Ambassador Thomas’ wrong-dongs against his fellow Liberians in France. There is an African fable that those who ride on the back of the tiger will one day end up in the belly of the same tiger. Ambassador Thomas is gradually landing in Christopher Octavius Varney and George Carr Nyemah’s stomachs. I have no doubt that their recent letter to the president to expose the ambassador’s wrong doings is due to the ambassador’s failures to pay them the full amount of 5,000 Euros that he reportedly promised to give them upon honoring him.
These are serious allegations made by our brothers and sisters in France, and as such, wicked behaviors often call for desperate measures — and the issue of falsification of educational and academic credentials and degree by Ambassador McKinley Thomas need to be investigated thoroughly. Until Ambassador Thomas can publicly prove the Liberian Community wrong, let me states that in a desperate employment market, some job seekers may be tempted to falsify the history of their education in order to make themselves more attractive to potential employers. Vividly I can recall how dozen of Liberians who were caught in degrees’ falsifications were publicly disgraced; some were forced to resign their lucrative jobs while others were dismissed.
Job seekers who stretch the truth are playing an ever-riskier game, according to Dennis Nason, CEO of the recruiting firm Nason & Nason. “Background checks are much easier now,” he says. “It’s all pretty open on the Internet.” And many companies and recruiters now employ background-check providers who specialize in sniffing out untruths. Almost all career experts advise job seekers to customize their resumes to individual jobs they apply for. So where’s the line between self-promotion and falsehood? Some experts say it can be hard to define. “The dictionary says that ’embellish’ means ‘to make beautiful,’ which is when a candidate is great at self-promotion,” says Tim McIntyre, president and CEO of The Executive Search Group. “The difference between that and a damaging lie varies by industry and profession.”
For instance, unlike diplomats and other professionals, financial executives are subject to more intense scrutiny than many people going into entry-level positions that don’t involve money. These are the same resume areas that, if you fudge them, can cause problems — the Internet has made it much easier to verify a person’s claims about education, for instance. But if it turns out that Ambassador Thomas’ BSc in Environment Design Architecture came from degree mill, which and a bogus university that confers degrees for little or no study; and now to save face, he should openly apologize to the people of Liberia. There are so many mills universities around the world and these bogus colleges and universities make it easier to pull off the résumé charade because they provide fake diplomas and transcripts that often seem legitimate.
The use of diploma mills is exploding as the Internet makes bogus degrees easier to get than ever before. More workers are buying these degrees because they’re looking for an edge in the competitive job market. And with more legitimate colleges offering online degrees, the environment is ripe for diploma mills to flourish, because it’s harder to determine whether a degree earned long distance is really legitimate. In addition, many diploma mills adopt names that are similar to bona fide universities or colleges.
According to study, there are more than 400 degree mills and 300 counterfeit degree Web sites, and business is thriving amid a lackluster economy — doubling in the past five years to more than $500 million annually, according to estimates kept by John Bear, author of Bears’ Guide to Earning Degrees By Distance Learning. Some fake schools in Europe have made as much as $50 million a year and have as many as 15,000 “graduates” a year. The number of fake accrediting organizations set up by con artists to provide diploma mills an air of legitimacy has swollen from half a dozen 10 years ago to 260 in 2003.
Many diploma mills charge a fee ranging from $50 to $5,000 for a bachelor’s, master’s, Ph.D. or other such degree. Often, buyers only have to provide money to get a professional-looking sheepskin and transcript they can show potential employers. Other diploma mills require buyers to complete cursory work, such as writing a short essay, before sending out the degree. Others are putting their worthless degrees to work, and many employers never realize they’re being duped: My best wise suggestion is Ambassador Thomas, please be careful, your disputed degree issue might promote you or bring you to your knees.
If the Liberian Community’s claim is true, then let me advise the ambassador that it is not yet late to earn a degree; you can enroll at any of the universities in Monrovia provided you can sit and pass the placement exams. Liberian Peace Ambassador, Mr. George Weah and Mr. Abraham Darius Dillon are living examples, when their education achievements were being disputed, they decided to enroll and today, Mr. Weah holds a degree while Mr. Dillon is attending in the United States. I am not saying that Ambassador Thomas is involved but his prolonged failures to prove the Liberian Community in France wrong by displaying copy of his BSc in Environment Design Architecture from could send mixed-signals, which could also buttress the looming qualms and tint him for life. The unfolding development from Rome, Italy between the Liberian Community and Ambassador Mohammed Sheriff will be the next focus of discussions next week.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author’s, and not necessarily of The Liberian Listener Online Publication Editorial Team.
Patrick Tokpa Johnson, Master’s Degree Program/ Environmental Law and Policy—Florida State University, 600 W. College Avenue, Tallahassee, FL 32306. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org