Inside the fake honorary doctorates awarded to Namadingo

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…Nigerian-Malawian woman married to a Pastor at the centre
Details have started emerging of the elaborate doctoral scam that awarded honorary degrees to musician Patience Namadingo and his brothers in arms: Pemphero Mphande and Mansoor Ashraf Karim. Information that Malawi24 has sourced has established that there is a syndicate robbing people of hard earned money but equally capitalising on the appetite for titles. According to our sources, a Malawian-Nigerian woman is at the centre of this elaborate scheme which has seen awardees parting with over 10 million Kwacha to get an honorary degree lying to them that it is from the University of South Africa (UNISA).

Sources that we have spoken to have revealed that the scheme operates across three countries of Malawi, Nigeria and South Africa. According to a person with the knowledge of events, the scheme has been running for a long time with Malawians only joining in the fray in 2020.

“There is a woman with a dual nationality which she obtained by marriage,” the source said. “It is this woman who is at the centre of events in this scam. She is the one who penetrated the Malawian market through Patience Namadingo.”

No patience for Patience to become a doctor
According to another source privy to events leading to the award of Namadingo with a bogus doctorate which he refuses to disavow this far, the woman was put in touch with Namadingo through a mutual friend.

Patience Namadingo

No patience
“The woman knew Namadingo as a celebrated musician. They have been living here together with her Nigerian husband so they knew how much Namadingo was celebrated and loved fame. She sold Namadingo the idea of an honorary doctorate and he salivated at it,” said the source.

According to the source, the woman did not outright tell Namadingo that he was to be involved in a scam. However, she told him that she could help him get a doctoral award from the University of South Africa. Namadingo was at first coy, thinking that he would end up scammed, however it was the way that the woman in question presented it to him.

“She sold it as a genuine thing. She assured him that UNISA would confer the degrees. At first, it was just a conversation but once they saw Namadingo get hooked, it moved to emails and then he was in. It was the allure of the title that got him hooked,” the source said. While the source could not disclose if Namadingo paid money directly to the scammer woman, we have it on authority that some of the victims of the scheme have paid their fees through other miscellaneous fees.

Some of the people awarded from the scheme, who are not Malawians, would be asked to pay a fee for gowns as well as other miscellaneous costs. For instance, some would pay what the scammers called a procession fee or a certificate printing fee. It was through such fees that the scammers would get money out of their victims. A source said that all the people who went through this scam paid the fees either directly to the woman who is sometimes based in Lilongwe together with her Nigerian husband or they would be scammed through the fees. We have not yet verified how Namadingo paid for his bogus paper.

For Namadingo, we have established that even if some people within his circle had doubts, he dismissed them. All he wanted was to become a doctor.

“You can see it from the way he boasted about the title, it was as if he earned it,” said a source. As per tradition indeed those holding honorary titles are not expected to be called doctors and indeed address themselves as doctors. However, Namadingo changed his name immediately after the fake award.

Becoming an honorary doctor: do charity works
If Namadingo was scammed, the same is not true for Mansoor Shariff Karim who was awarded his own doctorate by the same scammers in 2021. Karim is a friend of Namadingo, he runs a garage in Blantyre called K Motors.

From around 2020, K Motors embarked on charity work of fixing grounded ambulances in Malawi’s district hospitals for free. They said the exercise would run for 12 months with an ambulance fixed each month. At the time, Karim said that K Motors would be embarking on that as a part of social responsibility exercise. However, Malawi24 can confidently reveal that it was in readiness for an award of an honorary doctorate degree by the same institution.- Malawi24

Patience Namadingo

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