Bizarre turn of events yet another sad twist at controversy-prone N.U.S.

Just when we thought things could not be more interesting at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.), along comes another eyebrow-raising development this week.

As if the controversy with the schedule of exams, suspensions, special leaves and the Cabinet-ordered investigation into the leadership of the institution is not enough, the investigation of another Senior Lecturer, whose qualifications have been questioned, tells quite a story.

Ladies and gentlemen, this latest development has all the hallmarks of a classic "how not to run a university" kind of story. How ironic that qualifications, the very thing students enroll at the university to attain, has become the central issue in this bizarre development?

It all started on Wednesday when a story titled “School of Medicine Lecturer investigated” appeared on the front page of the Samoa Observer. The Lecturer in question is none other than Dr. Embiruka Osborne Nyandiva, whom the University’s now suspended Vice Chancellor Professor Fui Asofou So’o had introduced with all the bells and whistles.  

The Kenyan arrived highly acclaimed with qualifications including “MbChB, MMed_Path, PGDip-Forencic Medicine, FRCOP-UK, PhD-Mol Path & Oncology". Whichever way you look at it, that list is a mouthful but it wasn’t all. The University also announced that he specialised in “Pathology, Oncology and Forensic Medicine". That was last year. Since then, it’s fair to say he has been teaching students at the university who will go on to graduate from these fields.

But Dr. Embiruka caught the attention of the Ministry of Health, which became suspicious about his work. The Director General, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, told this newspaper their office immediately lodged a complaint with the N.U.S., Samoa Qualifications and the Office of the Attorney General.

“I wrote to the Samoa Qualifications Authority and copied the N.U.S and the Medical Council, given there was some work he was doing for hospital, such as tissue counting,” Leausa explained.

“And we found out some disturbing news about his credentials, information from the University in Kenya says they did not confer any Pathologist degree on him.”

According to the Director General, Dr. Embiruka also applied for a Pathologist vacancy at the hospital. "But when the funders (the Australian government) questioned his credentials, he pulled his application.”

Now that was on Wednesday.

The very next day, another interesting piece of information arrived. This time, it was about a public notice issued by the St. Francis University College of Health and Allied Sciences (S.F.U.C.H.A.S.) in Tanzania. Posted on the school’s website on 15th May 2019, the notice reads: “This is to inform the community of S.F.U.C.H.A.S. and the general public that Mr. Osborne Nyandiva (in the photo above) is no longer an employee of S.F.U.C.H.A.S. as from the date of this notice. Consequently, S.F.U.C.H.A.S. will not be responsible for his actions.”

For someone so highly qualified, why would such a notice be necessary?

Believe it or not, when the Samoa Observer contacted the Administrator for S.F.U.C.H.A.S., Musa C. Mgaya, he delivered even more disturbing information.

“He left our institution uninformed since September 2018, probably after he found out that we have discovered he presented to our office some forgery information including his academic certificates,” Mr. Mgaya said.

“When we tried to inquire on his whereabouts, his response was not convincing and yet he could not get back to work for nine months now.

“When we employed him, we submitted his certificates to the Board of Pathologists so as to ascertain his qualifications but it turned out that he was not real in his academic credentials.

“We later on discovered that he even forged his endorsement letter from the Tanzania Commission for University which has discretion to scrutinize foreign awards before someone can work in Tanzania.”

We’ll stop there.

Suffice to say, as a fair newspaper would do, Dr. Embiruka was given an opportunity to respond to all these allegations, which he disputed of course. He also accused the Ministry of Health of conspiring against him.

“I applied for the C.E.O. position (of the Ministry of Health) and I was told that I am a foreigner so why do I want to compete with locals, yet already getting high perks at the university,” he claimed.

“They disregarded the application. The whole circle goes around harming all the black professionals at the N.U.S.”

Really? Since when did Samoa have a problem with “black professionals?”

In any case, Dr. Embiruka also threatening legal action and more.

“Let them know it will be a Court battle because none of them understand the policies on personal data protection,” he said.

“I will be a whistleblower for all the wikileaks and rots in the university and Ministry of Health regarding quite many things touching on nepotism, favoritism and racism (and) also unfair treatment of staff and even affairs for assured job security.”

Now that’s interesting. Folks there sure is a lot for Dr. Embiruka to tell and we can hardly wait to hear. But of course he is no longer in the country and whether he would come back, who knows? Kenya is a far, far away place.

What we do know is that judging from everything that has been happening at the National University of Samoa during the past few months, these developments do not reflect well on the leadership. It sounds like the institution needs a fresh start. What do you think?

Have a peaceful Sunday Samoa, God bless!

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