Columbia Commonwealth University accreditation smacks of corruption, says law professor

Professor of Law Danwood Chirwa says Columbia Commonwealth University (CCU) is a well-known fake university and its accreditation in Malawi smacks of corruption.

Chirwa who is Dean of Law at University of Cape Town in South Africa said this on Monday following revelations of names of people in Malawi who earned their PhDs at Columbia Commonwealth University.


Individuals such as Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (ICAM) chief executive officer (CEO) Francis Chinjoka Gondwe and politician Ken Zikhale Ng’oma are alleged to have earned their PhDs at the university.

The Ministry of Education accredited Columbia Commonwealth University in 2001 but it also deregistered the university in 2018 though the deregistration did not affect qualifications conferred or awarded prior to 29th October, 2018.

Chirwa told the local media that CCU is a fake university which makes a mockery of higher education and make money from such mockery.

He also questioned CCU’s accreditation saying such a university being accredited provides evidence of possible corruption.

“The Ministry of Education and the people involved in this fiasco have to provide information of what standards they applied and review they conducted,” he said.

Chirwa also faulted people who get degrees from such institutions. He said Gondwe who heads ICAM should be able to distinguish between a fake institution and a genuine one.

“He chose to participate in the fraud and benefited financially from it. He has also misled people into thinking he holds a credible degree — he does not.

“Gondwe leads an important professional organization. It cannot be headed by someone who has questionable qualifications — that is disqualifying in any credible accounting regulatory body.

“But Malawi is led by questionable characters all the time,” Chirwa said.

Gondwe told the local media that he graduated from Columbia Commonwealth University in 2011 with a doctoral degree in Business Administration concentrating on strategic management.

He claimed that Chirwa was making a wild allegations regarding his PhD and he threatened to drag the professor to court over the matter.