It appears Myanmar's National League for Democracy party — set to form the country’s first civilian government in 50 years — has encountered its first political controversy even before its members assumed their new positions.
Apparently, the Finance Minister-elect Kyaw Win got a master’s degree and Ph.D. in finance from a college in the United States that doesn’t exist.
The scandal emerged after NLD made his curriculum vitae public. Someone noticed the Brooklyn Park University stated in the document (pictured above) was one of the 370 education websites exposed as bogus by The New York Times last year.
The massive fraud, which was uncovered by Irish journalist Declan Walsh, helped expose how a self-proclaimed information technology company named Axact made tens of millions of dollars annually by selling people fake diplomas and degrees online.
It’s not clear if Kyaw Win was aware of the scam, as Axact fooled many of its victims into believing that they were getting actual degrees from American universities.
Regardless, the embattled politician admitted to The Myanmar Times his degree is, in fact, fake.
“I tried to contact a university in California in 2005 but I failed to get in,” he told the newspaper. “Later in 2008, I joined an online course at Brooklyn Park University. I started to study for a thesis but did not complete it. The Ph.D. on my CV is not a real qualification.”
He added he will not call himself "Dr." anymore.
Despite the embarrassing controversy, it doesn’t look like his chances of becoming Myanmar’s next finance minister will be affected since a party spokesperson has said his fake degree “doesn’t matter.”
But that’s a point of concern since the man will be responsible for the budget and finances of an entire country.