'Bogus' SA professor a wanted man

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Dec 18, 2007

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A South African citizen is a wanted man in Taiwan but is believed to have fled the country after he was alleged to have falsified documents to obtain a post as a university professor.

According to the Taipei Times, Grant Christopher Buchan had been employed as an English professor at the Hungkuang University for the past two years.

However, questions were asked when he refused to sign a document authorising the university to authenticate his diploma with his alleged alma mater.

When applying for the post Buchan had provided university officials with a doctorate degree from Notre Dame University in the US.

He is believed to have fled the country before his trial was to begin in November.

Police have placed him on a wanted list and the university has issued a warning to other schools in the country to be wary of him.

There is no trace of him and it is also not clear where in South Africa he is from.

The Hungkuang University, meanwhile, has come under fierce criticism from Taiwan's Education Ministry, which accuses it of carelessness in hiring the man.

"Hungkuang University must shoulder the entire responsibility for hiring the bogus professor. It is hard to believe a school of such calibre would be so careless during the hiring process," Yang Yu-hui, a specialist in the ministry's scholastic review board, told the Taipei Times.

Yang added that it was the university's responsibility to ensure the authenticity of any employee's documents while the education ministry was only responsible for issuing work permits.

In response, the university's academic supervisor, Chen Yushun, said that before hiring Buchanan, the university had submitted his diplomas to the American Institute in Taiwan for confirmation. They had found no fault with the papers."

"The president of the university is the one who noticed there was something wrong when during a forum on education, Buchan was unable to answer questions about his doctorate dissertation and his studies at the US university," said Chen.

Chen said Buchan, who was described by some of his former students as a good and energetic teacher, had been paid about R434 000 for the past two years.

The students chided the university for what they believed was the university's negligence.

The Hungkuang University has about 10 000 students and employs 300 professors.

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