How the fake Ghanaian PhD overachiever at University of Amsterdam was unmasked

Category: General News 346

A fortnight after ghanabusinessnews.com exclusively busted Caleb Afaglo, the IT director of SSNIT. He did not attend the Georgia Institute of Technology as he had claimed, another incident of academic fabrication has been uncovered.

News of a Ghanaian PhD graduate at the University of Amsterdam who claimed he had won five awards made rounds on a number of news websites earlier this month with many social media users extolling his academic attributes and praising him for raising the flag of Ghana high.

However, investigations by the news website Pulse.com.gh has revealed that the story is false. The website reached out to the University of Amsterdam but its press office “outrightly told it that they had no records of the student by the name, Sebastian Osumanu. They subsequently told Pulse Ghana, that there was no such incident where a student swept that many awards in a single graduation ceremony.”

Further investigations by ghanabusinessnews.com uncovered the fact that Sebastian Osumanu’s academic lies did not start in 2017. He claims to have won the Erasmus Mundus Nobel Prize in Economics in 2014 at the Dutch University but such an award does not exist nor is it administered by the institution. That false feat was reported by the state-owned Graphic Online in March 2015.

The European Union indeed runs a scholarship programme called Erasmus Mundus and there is a Nobel Prize in Economics (an annual award for economics scholars with years of experience for their “outstanding contribution to Economic Sciences”) but the two are not linked in anyway.

Incidentally, the University of Cape Coast seem to have also fallen for the fraud and published it on its website.

However, the widely shared false story contained a photo of Osumanu receiving an award from what appears to be a high ranking university official. An internet search revealed that the photo was from a real 2015 doctoral graduation ceremony at the University of Rochester in the United States, but that the face of Sebastian Osumanu had been photoshopped onto the face of another person.

Also, according to the Press Office of the University of Amsterdam, doctoral graduands at the University of Amsterdam do not wear academic gowns.

This revelation comes days after the cover of Eduardo Martins, a popular war photographer had been blown. He had managed to deceive many international news organisations, including the New York Times, Al Jazeera and the BBC, with edited photos of wars in the Middle East. His cover was eventually blown by the BBC along with a Brazilian journalist based in Lebanon who had gotten suspicious of that a foreign correspondent from her country was not known to the small circle of Brazilian journalists working in the Arab world.

Ghanabusinessnews.com has reached out to Sebastian Osumanu on Instagram where his username is ‘sabas4real’ but at the time of publication, he had not yet responded.

By Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu
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