THE Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) is investigating a claim that one of its employees possesses a fake master’s degree.
In a Facebook note yesterday, IDA said it is continuing to look into the case of Nisha Padmanabhan, who joined the agency last year with a master’s degree from Southern Pacific University, which is based online.
The university has been alleged to be a “degree mill” – an institution selling non-accredited educational credentials or diplomas for a fee – and was closed in the United States by a court order. It is now apparently operating in Malaysia.
IDA has been criticised online, after a netizen accused it earlier this month of hiring Ms Padmanabhan despite her alleged phoney qualification.
Last week, IDA responded on its Facebook page by saying that Ms Padmanabhan, a Singapore citizen, had received a bachelor’s degree from “a reputable university”.
According to her LinkedIn page, she has a bachelor’s in electronics and telecommunication from the University of Mumbai in India, and worked for nearly 14 years in various firms before joining IDA.
“She was recruited because of this bachelor’s degree, extensive past work experience and good track record,” IDA said.
“Nisha pursued an MBA (the master’s degree) out of personal interest, and it was not a relevant certificate for her position in IDA, though she was open about the fact that she had obtained it.”
In fact, 93 per cent of IDA staff hired at the level of applications consultant were hired because of their bachelor’s degree.
The criticism against IDA continued, however, with several people hijacking its Facebook posts on other subjects to comment on Ms Padmanabhan’s hiring and the agency’s handling of the case.
In its latest Facebook post on the matter yesterday, IDA said: “We understand your sentiments and concerns, and we are continuing to look into the matter.”
It also asked people who have comments to share them on the post, or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
It added that it would moderate comments more actively on the rest of its Facebook posts, so that the discussion would remain civil and constructive. It said it does not generally remove comments, but reserves the right to remove those that contain vulgarities, are personal attacks against individuals or are deemed inappropriate.