Education Minister withdraws ex-PM Ponta’s PhD title

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Education minister Mircea Dumitru on Monday signed the decree withdrawing the PhD title granted to former PM Victor Ponta in 2003, the ministry’s officials announced. The former premier can challenge the decision to court.

The minister’s decree says that “the PhD title in law granted to Mr. Victor Viorel Ponta by the University of Bucharest by the order of the Education, Research and Youth Ministry on December 15, 2003 is being withdrawn.”

The National Council for Attesting Titles, Diplomas and Certificates (CNATDCU) on July 27 rejected former PM Ponta’s appeal against the council’s decision to withdraw his PhD title. The decision is to be signed by the Education minister.

“CNATDCU general council rejected the appeal with 37 votes out of 47. In other words, the decision maintains the report of the analysis committee that observed the plagiarism of the PhD dissertation and proposed the withdrawal of the PhD title,” said the Education ministry’s spokesperson, Mirabela Amarandei.

The former premier filed the appeal and the CNATDCU, and a committee consisting in three members of the Council will analyze the request. The members don’t have to be in conflict of interests with one of the involved parties.

About three weeks ago, the National Council for Attesting Titles, Diplomas and Certificates (CNATDCU) has decided on Thursday to withdraw the doctoral title of former Prime Minister Victor Ponta. 34 in 35 present members voted the work as plagiarism and there was one abstention.

According to the council, former Prime Minister Victor Ponta had plagiarised in his PhD dissertation, as sources from the Ministry of Education said Wednesday evening.

The sources said members of the Technical Council have completed the report on the doctoral work of former Prime Minister Victor Ponta and have recommended the withdrawal of Victor Ponta’s PhD paper.

The decision comes four years after ‘Nature’ magazine raised questions about the originality of Victor Ponta’s PhD work.

Former PM Ponta has constantly denied the plagiarism accusations and tried to minimize the relevance of ‘Nature’ magazine’s disclosure, nevertheless by the end of 2014 he tried to give up the PhD title (obtained in 2003 from the Bucharest University).

Victor Ponta’s scientific advisor for this thesis was former Adrian Nastase, who was prime minister in 2003. Victor Ponta was at that time Secretary of State with the Nastase cabinet.

Former Premier Victor Ponta answered ironically to the CNADTCU decision on Thursday by saying that “the technocrats have solved the country’s main problem.”

“OK, the technocrats have solved the country’s main problem – they’ve taken away my PhD work (as Basescu did in 2012)! I understand that from now on (after this new victory) everything will be all right – as of today revenues to the state budget will start growing and we’ll have no deficit/ starting today we can get the European money we’ve failed to collect so far/ as of today we’re going to pay all the subsidies for agriculture, we are going to increase the salaries and pensions/ as of today the babies will not die in hospitals and the subjects will be easier for the capacity exams/ and starting today we are not the ‘staff’ the technocrats are selling to Brussels in order to get a promotion when they get back there!” Ponta wrote on Facebook.

He added he feels ‘honoured’ to have been in the executive’s focus.

“I am honoured by the effort made by the technocrats’ government for my person – an emergency ordinance just for me, a committee set up just for me (when I got the non-plagiarism verdict in 2012 from the same CNADTCU there was also another PhD work examined at the same time – I bet you don’t have the courage to check that one again)/ a final ruling by the ICCJ (Supreme Court – our note) in 2014 is being ignored! Thank you from my heart, dear politruks! From now on I will be working on a fresh PhD work called ‘The fabulous technocrat governance and its great achievements for the Romanian people’ – that will be fun!!!” Ponta concluded.


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