(Image source) Romania's politicians and officials have been hitting the headlines these last few weeks owing to their embroidery skills - embroidery, that is, of their CVs. Whether it be inventing academic awards, exaggerating their qualifications or committing downright plagiarism, it's become a little like the song, 'Ten Green Bottles'...
Two weeks ago, Corina Dumitrescu was fired from her stand-in position as Minister of Education for being somewhat economical with the truth on her CV. This alone, was damaging to USL, who needed to give a water-tight and confidence-boosting show of ministers seen as trustworthy and honest. Big oops. The ex-minister of education, Daniel Funeriu, reportedly said, "Corina Dumitrescu is the very fibre of PSD - a plagiariser and a liar."
Dumitrescu and her husband Cristian, a deputy, are also implicated in accusations of plagiarising work by Professor Octavian Manolache dating back to 2007. How did someone with such a track record ever get to be nominated minister of education, no matter how temporary the position? Certainly the choice of Dumitrescu for the post was extremely controversial.
(Image source) Her replacement, Ioan Mang, wasn't much better - he was 'let go' due to very solid accusations of plagiarism in at least EIGHT of his academic papers.
'Mang is a computer scientist at the University of Oradea in northwestern Romania, and has served on the senate’s education committee, which tried to hinder the previous government’s research reforms. One of Mang’s papers under scrutiny (I. Mang Seria Technichni nauki 12, 129–135; 2004) was allegedly a near-identical copy of a manuscript intended for presentation at a scientific workshop and authored by cryptographer Eli Biham, the dean of computer science at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
Biham notes that Mang withdrew the manuscript from the workshop because of conceptual errors, but had been unable to completely remove the document from the Internet. Mang seemed “neither to have read nor tried to understand the claims” in the paper, Biham wrote last week on his website.' (text: Nature)
When pursued by journalists from the Romanian media, Mang stated that the claims were "politically inspired". He pledged to resign if experts could prove the allegations to be true. Prove them, they did. Mang is no more... He has since been replaced by Liviu Pop, whose grammar and spelling reportedly leaves a lot to be desired. Ponta jokingly referred to the position of minister of education as 'the electric chair' but it really is no laughing matter and does nothing to improve Romania's reputation beyond its borders. Crooked ministers - that we knew, but so blatently crooked?
Ponta referred the Mang case to the Romanian Academy, even though it has no mandate to investigate allegations of scientific misconduct.
(Image source) The next far more shocking claim of plagiarism to hit the press (IMHO) was directed at Laura Codruta Kovesi, the General Prosecutor of Romania. This, however, really came as no surprise, for she landed the job at the age of 28 before she'd even finished her MA. Seems very odd that one so young should have a position of such responsibility - and without being fully qualified, not to mention a lack of life experience. I suppose it helps to have a father who just happens to be a bigshot prosecutor in Medias.
Kovesi's thesis is a true example of how to plagiarise with pure arrogance. Her opening paragraph was literally lifted from another work without any effort to use synonyms, change punctuation or reverse sentences. No, it was a 'copy/paste' job. As if, somehow, she knew that no one would be checking it and no questions would be asked. See THIS excellently detailed blogpost from the 'Ovidiu online blog' for more on that - it's astonishing. And what is all the MORE astonishing is that the plagiarism is so incredibly flagrant - no one, however, moved a muscle or lifted a finger to have her removed. The General Prosecutor of an entire country, responsible for stamping out corruption, disorder and bringing criminals to book. Ironic?
In addition, Kovesi is not ONLY General Prosecutor of the entire country, though you'd wonder how she could have time for anything else, the crime-rate being as it is. She is also professor at FOUR different universities where she teaches an hour a week at each one. Salary? You'd better sit down for this. 1000 euros per month from each university, ie. 4,000 euros a month for 16 teaching hours - that's 250 euros an hour... Huh? Simply OUTRAGEOUS!!! And they say we get 'well-paid' in the west!!! I'm obviously teaching at universities in the wrong country. No wonder there's no money in the coffers of Romania's ministry of education, paying salaries like that to so-called 'professors' who steal other people's work for their own gain. Despicable.
This morning, I received a message from a friend of mine with THIS LINK regarding Kovesi's earnings. RD wrote,
"As you can see, according to her last income statement in 2010, she received 137,563 lei as salary + 45,794 lei allowance from CSM. That's a total of 183,357 lei per year or 15,280 lei per month (some 3,500 euros/month)... It's very obvious that the copy/paste method so dear to our politicians really works, and it pays very well." It does indeed. And her additional 4,000 euros from the universities are not mentioned here, so you can add that on too, making her income at an approximative and very comfy 7,500 euros/month. Nice....
The question on many people's lips today is, if forced to resign (and why should she be given the honour of resigning? She should be fired), would she be offered a job as a magistrate? MAGISTRATE? After having been caught plagiarising?!? Magistrates are supposed to be upholders of the law. This woman is an imposter, a cheat, a thief aaaaand a liar. Magistrate?!? Gimme a break.
PSD is trying to kick her out anyway for her rôle in the Boldea case, see HERE. If not for one thing, then another will do. How she remained in her position for so long can only be explained away by nepotism at the extreme. Neeeeeext!
Rovana Plumb declared in her CV that, in 1999, she was awarded a diploma in Management Strategy from the George Washington University. When Hotnews.ro contacted the university for confirmation of the award, they could find no trace of such a diploma ever existing for Ms Plumb.
(Image source) When questioned by journalists, she said that she had attended a one or two week course on a "Romanian Executive Development Programme" and was proud of the 'diploma' she had received. Hotnews sent the document to the university who said, simply, that it was NOT a diploma, but a certificate for having attended the course. I have a couple just like that, one for a translation course I took with the American University here in Paris and another for an interpreter's course at the Sorbonne. Indeed, they can NOT be declared as diplomas. They are purely proof of presence and nothing more. They have zero academic value.
Daniel Funeriu told the press that he was “appalled by the dimension of fraud”, which damages the international credibility of Romania. It doesn't only damage credibility for the country itself, but also for the thousands (I hope) of HONEST graduates with real, bona fide qualifications. As it is, academic awards from Romania are considered doubtful in the west to say the least. Questions are always raised as to whether they were bought, plagiarised or earned honestly - terribly unfair to the average hard-working student. As long as these high-ranking imposters continue to lie, cheat and copy/paste for positions of power and responsibility, there is little hope for anyone else...
The question remains how on earth such fiction, exaggeration and embroidery could go undetected for so long (particularly in the case of Kovesi).
For more, if you can stomach it, please see this site, Grupul de Investigatii Politice - they are doing a courageous job in a country so sadly dominated by fraud, corruption, embezzlement and theft.
To be continued...
21st May: Well, what do you know - another falsified CV, another diploma that never existed came to light this morning - this time, the acting Minister of Agriculture, Daniel Constantin, who declared he had a diploma from the Scottish Agricultural College. Nope. Hotnews continues to sniff out the list of imposters (I'm sure it's going to be a bottomless pit) - and Ponta's government is looking, indeed, more and more like a copy/paste club than ever... Daniel Constantin should know that when one's in a hole, one should stop digging: "It was a course which lasted a few days and held here in Romania by a Scottish professor. I didn't use it as an academic qualification," he said. Incredible. "A few days".... Read the full story HERE in Revista 22.
24th May: Please see THIS ARTICLE from Revista 22 by Stefan Vianu (son of Ionel Vianu) regarding phony doctorats.