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Height of fraud

Height of fraud

Forty-two people are dead and at least 200 commercial airline pilots have lied about their level of experience. This Arab News editorial rails against fraudsters who lie about their qualifications.

September 8, 2010 1:50 by

The falsification of qualifications is nothing new. However in an ever-more high technology world, where considerable skills must be combined with detailed knowledge and understanding, those who seek to cheat the system by claiming professional fitness that they do not possess, are a criminal menace.

This truth has been starkly underlined by the discovery in China that at least 200 commercial airline pilots have lied about their level of experience. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) began re-checking pilot qualification after a fatal crash last month in which 42 people died. Preliminary investigation suggests that during the final approach the pilot had made a series of elementary errors which caused the airliner to miss the runway completely and smash.

The fact that half the improperly qualified pilots so far unmasked have been working for the same Chinese airline, ought to heighten the alarm for both the CAAC and passengers. This is because it would seem to suggest that there has been either systemic deception or that the carrier involved has been unacceptably lax in its recruitment procedures.

It is indeed bad enough to have anyone lie about their qualifications. It is even less acceptable to have employers connive in hiring individuals who they have good reason to believe are frauds.

Unfortunately in Saudi Arabia we are no strangers to the problem of bogus professional qualifications. In January this year the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties revealed that some 15,000 foreigners who had been working with the health system had been barred, either for incompetence or because their qualifications were phony or otherwise invalid. This last group numbered more than a thousand. Some 600 of these fakes were nurses or pharmacists, both highly specialized callings in which proper training and qualification can only be acquired over several years. But astoundingly there were also 150 bogus dentists and opticians and a horrifying 75 fake doctors.

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