The CEO and Chairman of NET1 (Net1 UEPS Technologies), a JSE and Nasdaq-listed tech firm, Serge Belamant has a questionable Ph.D. Degree. Quoth Raven in a blog titled Is UEPS’ CEO touting a sham PHD Degree, says major questions loom about the integrity of Belamant’s Ph.D. Degree, which seems to have come from a ‘distance learning’ University that has since disappeared. By Staff Writer
In the blog post, Raven says this after other research reports called out questionable statements the CEO has made about his company’s highly scrutinized business practices.
“UEPS has been a company under much controversy – the next question QTR wants to raise is whether or not the CEO’s PhD (with which he’s used to identify himself in numerous filings) is a sham. The company’s CEO and Chairman appears to have a Ph.D. from an offshore “distance learning” diploma mill which was exposed in a January 16th Webb-Site article and that doesn’t seem to exist anymore,” wrote Raven in the blog post.
Raven added: “Recently, Webb-Site published an article challenging the doctorate degree that had been granted from Burkes University to other executives. While investigating someone else who claimed to have a Ph.D. from “Burkes University”, this article claims that“There has never been a Burkes University in the UK”. An article published on January 16th, 2016 says.”
For more read: Is UEPS’ CEO touting a sham PHD Degree
In a surprise move, Net1 on Friday issued a statement on the JSE advising investors about this allegations. What’s surprising is that the company seems to accept that Belamant’s Ph.D was a fake.
The company said its board of directors has become aware of recent allegations posted on social media questioning the validity of the honorary PhD in Information Technology and Management conferred by Burkes University upon Serge Belamant, Chairman and CEO of Net1.
“As a result of the social media allegations, two members of the board, with the cooperation of Serge Belamant, have conducted a review of the circumstances under which the honorary degree was awarded to Belamant, including an examination of the email correspondence between Belamant and Burkes University and an attempt to obtain any available information about Burkes University.”
The technology firm said based on this review, it appears that in early May 2003, Belamant received an email from a person who appeared to be associated with “Burkes University” stating that he had been “short-listed by the Honorary Doctorates Committee” for the conferment of an honorary doctorate degree.
“After receiving this correspondence, Belamant responded by asking for details about the selection criteria and process. Belamant received a response that discussed criteria, which appeared to him to be relevant to the awarding of an honorary degree. Belamant provided the information that he was asked to submit, including proof of his memberships of professional societies, his academic records, patents he filed, his nomination for the South African chapter of the World Entrepreneur of the Year award and his work published in information security textbooks. Belamant recalls making a donation to what he believed was a foundation associated with Burkes University.
“On May 23, 2003, the honorary degree was awarded to Belamant. Attempts to obtain information about Burkes University revealed that, according to the “Higher Education Degree Datacheck” website, Burkes University is currently referred to as “not a valid UK degree awarding body”. Further, there is no current website for Burkes University,” the company statement explained.
The board of Net1 concluded after the investigation that Belamant followed the honorary degree award process in good faith and that at the time, Belamant did not doubt the integrity of the process or the validity of the degree.
“However, in light of the review, Belamant and the board have come to the conclusion that it is likely that Belamant was the unfortunate victim of a scam and that the honorary degree was not legitimate.”