Ex-Zimche boss stripped of degree

Florence Chimbumu
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Former top manager at the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE), Florence Chimbumu, who was exposed recently for using fake certificates when only a single Ordinary Level pass could be certified, has been stripped of a Politics and Public Administration degree conferred to her by a local university in 2019.

Chimbumu (62), according to the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec), only passed a single O-Level subject, but produced a forged certificate showing she had five passes for the purposes of getting the job.

The Higher Examinations Council (Hexco) also dismissed her two diplomas in Accounts and Secretarial Studies as well as a Higher National Diploma in Office Management as fraudulent.

Hexco said the diplomas appeared genuine, but they could not be traced to any college in Zimbabwe.

The qualifications in question could neither be found on mark sheets, award lists nor master files at Hexco.

Recently, Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) withdrew the Politics and Administration degree conferred to Chimbumu upon discovering she had misrepresented information.

“Great Zimbabwe University hereby notifies its valued stakeholders that an award of a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree (Politics and Public Administration) conferred to Mrs Florence Chioneso Chimbumu of Number 1305 Donnybrook, Greendale, Harare, has been withdrawn.

“The degree was awarded to Mrs Chimbumu in June 2019 and has been recalled after establishing that she grossly misrepresented information to the university, which amounts to a gross academic offence,” reads a notice dated January 6 2021.

On the strength of the questionable documents, Mrs Chimbumu lived large, enjoying luxurious perks at the country’s quality regulator of degree and diploma programmes.

After landing the top managerial post in January last year, Mrs Chimbunu enjoyed the luxury of a private security guard, an all-terrain Toyota Hilux double cab vehicle, school fees and international holiday allowances.

This lifestyle was cut short after Zimche discovered she was using fake academic and tertiary qualifications.

Mrs Chimbunu’s contract of employment shows that she was entitled to a five-day international holiday and daily allowance for two people annually, payment of school fees for three children, 340 litres of fuel monthly, a land-line telephone and wi-fi allowance, professional association allowance and dressing allowance. Zimche would also pay tertiary fees for Chimbunu, her spouse and three children.

She was also entitled to a domestic worker’s allowance and a monthly retention allowance, entertainment allowance, medical aid cover for spouse and four dependants, cellphone and housing allowances.

Chimbunu had been enjoying the benefits for the first nine months of 2020 after her promotion in January to a top manager, having originally started as a receptionist.

She reportedly produced fake certificates indicating she had five O-Level passes plus tertiary qualifications.

She ran out of luck when a human resources audit checked up.

The embarrassed education quality regulator and Mrs Chimbumu have now parted company, although it is unknown if she resigned or was fired.

This was after Zimche found via Zimsec and Hexco that she had submitted fake qualifications.

She was caught after a Zimche internal audit, a check normally done by human resources officers before one is hired. Chimbumu has since been arrested for fraud and forgery and she now awaits trial.

She was promoted under a restructuring initiated by the new chief executive, Professor Kuzvinetsa Dzvimbo.

The recent restructuring saw the recruitment of 11 new managers, creating a management-rich organisation.

The new positions included two chief directors, directors of finance, audit, administration, information and communications technology (ICT) and chief operations officer, the post held by Chimbunu, among other positions, in addition to the other managers already in employ.

The new appointees assumed duty on January 6, 2020, after being selected in interviews conducted in November 2019.