Newly promoted telecommunications manager of the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) Simon Bahaw may have some explaining to do after admitting to obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology from an unaccredited university. Bahaw is among several employees at the authority who were recently recommended for promotion.
The promotion, T&T Guardian was told, has sent shock waves throughout WASA, with several workers threatening to withhold their services until the promotion is revoked. A copy of the listing, dated September 3, obtained by T&T Guardian, lists Bahaw’s substantial post in Range 28 as a Customer Service Representative.
As a customer service representative Bahaw received a basic monthly salary of $7,500. However, on the basis of the recommendation for promotion, Bahaw has now moved to Range 68, pushing his salary to $25,000 with perks inclusive of vehicle, travelling, telephone allowances and commuted overtime.
Information obtained by T&T Guardian revealed Bahaw obtained his degree from Canterbury University in the UK. Online checks revealed the university is described as a “diploma mill,” associated with the Web site instantdegrees.com
It was established in 1974 and is based in the Seychelles. According to the British Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the university is not a recognised body for United Kingdom degree awards. T&T Guardian investigations revealed it was human resource director Ken Mahabir who recommended Bahaw for the promotion.
When contacted, Mahabir declined to comment on the role he played in promoting Bahaw, saying he was out of the country. Even Public Service Association representative Leroy Baptiste, who would have agreed to Bahaw’s promotion, took a hands-off approach when asked to shed some light on the controversial appointment.
Told that the degree Bahaw had read for is unaccredited, Baptiste replied:” I have absolutely no comment to make,” before abruptly hanging up the phone. But Bahaw defended the promotion when interviewed by T&T Guardian, insisting that he has worked his way up the ladder, even though his degree is not accredited—and the list from last month which indicated he was a customer service representative up till then.
Bahaw said: “There is some jealousy involved, but I have nothing to hide...The degree I would have got is not accredited because the school is no longer in existence. I am completing my Master of Science in December. I went into WASA at Range 28, which was as a customer service representative. I moved up to Range 35 as a senior customer service representative, then to a technician at Range 42. I was then promoted to Range 60 as an administrator, after which I moved to Range 64 and then Range 68.”
Asked what position he held at Range 64, Bahaw did not say, only adding: “It is 23 years of service I have.” He asked the T&T Guardian to call back at 2 pm for him to clarify all questions, as he was boarding a flight. When the T&T Guardian contacted Bahaw as requested on the second occasion, he said, “Ask anybody about me. They will say I am one of the nicest persons. Self-praise is no praise. I know you have a job to do and I do not want to hamper what you are doing. I have been advised by the human resource department that I am not allowed to speak to the media on any matter.”
But sources said it is not only Bahaw’s appointment that caused a stir among employees after the listing was leaked. Sources revealed the matter is engaging the attention of the human resources department and was reported to the Equal Opportunities Commission. Wasa’s communications manager Ellen Lewis and line minister Ganga Singh could not be reached for comment.