Government ministers and their fake university degrees
Apparently, a good reputation is very important for Prime Minister Ana Brnabić when it comes to appointing government officials. However, neither the prime minister nor his chief of staff believe that at least two ministers with shady university degrees are members of his cabinet.
It all started with Minister Siniša Mali and his doctorate. A request that the then mayor of Belgrade not be awarded the title of Doctor of Science for plagiarism was submitted to the Rectorate of the University of Belgrade by a group of 330 academics and university professors. The case dragged on for years, until Ivanka Popović was appointed head of the University of Belgrade, and students of the 1u5 Miliona movement began to demonstrate in front of the Rectorate building to demand the cancellation of Mali’s doctoral thesis.
Siniša Mali first claimed that the plagiarism allegations were a blatant lie, then he posted on his Instagram profile all the diplomas and recognitions he has obtained in Serbia and abroad.
Against all expectations, Siniša Mali’s doctorate was canceled, because on page 51 he literally copied the work of other people, without citing the source, which the University assessed as non-academic behavior and stated his doctoral thesis invalid. It was the Prime Minister and the Serbian President who defended Mali, with Vučić even saying that a government minister does not need to have a doctorate, not even university.
However, the Belgrade Administrative Court overturned the recent decision of the Professional Ethics Committee of the University of Belgrade, which had previously overturned the doctorate of the Minister of Finance, Siniša Mali. The matter was returned to line authority for reconsideration.
Stefanović and a college that has “disappeared”
Somehow, coinciding with the Mali affair, then Interior Minister Nebojša Stefanović had to deal with a similar problem, namely to claim that his university degree was a fake. .
Namely, members of the Alliance for Serbia accused Minister Stefanović of counterfeiting, because at Belgrade-based private faculty Megatrend announced the degree he obtained from a British school that did not exist. .
The Education Ministry rejected Stefanović’s request for a diploma review, and just as the case was about to be another cover-up, Megatrend University owner Mića Jovanović made a public statement. In an attempt to repair his university’s reputation, Jovanović showed the Tanjug Nebojša Stefanović news agency the student files. In short, according to Jovanović, Stefanović attended classes and took exams at the Sava Center.
However, upon closer examination, it was revealed that Megatrend’s purported London branch, which awarded Stefanović his degree, never existed. N1 reporters discovered that there was no evidence of such a school at the registered London address. To make matters worse, UK professors, whose names were on the list of speakers provided by Jovanović, have strongly denied any connection to Megatrend University.
Everyone has a doctorate
The university degree and doctorate of new SNS member Aleksandar Šapić has been the subject of public discussion for a long time.
Much of Šapić’s thesis is a direct translation of parts of the book “Selling and Sales Management”, written by David Jobber and Geoffrey Lancaster. Some segments of the book can be viewed online. Šapić is said to have obtained his undergraduate degree from Union College, a private institution.
CINS reported in 2016 that the current Governor of the National Bank of Serbia, Jorgovanka Tabaković, also used someone else’s material without correctly citing the source.
A member of the Democratic Party (DS), Balša Božović, also carried out fraudulent activities concerning the doctorate of a member of the Serbian Progressive Party and of the National Parliament, Aleksandar Martinović. Between 2005 and 2009, he published the same article six times, only under a different title, and thus obtained the right to become a Doctor of Science.