Communist Party investigators have launched a probe into allegations that a high-ranking Party official is using an unaccredited American doctorate degree.
Since last week, local media and experts have raised questions about the doctorate degree that Nguyen Van Ngoc, deputy chief of Yen Bai Province's Party Unit, obtained from the US-owned Southern Pacific University (SPU) last year.
According to reports, Ngoc received his degree six months after he began the program. It's still unclear whether he was supposed to study online or on campus.
Ngoc said he defended his thesis in Vietnam, while documents obtained by Tuoi Tre stated that he was supposed to defend his thesis in Malaysia. The documents further alleged that Ngoc was sent to SPU under a government initiative.
Ngoc denied receiving financial support from the province; however, Nguyen Van Thanh, chief of Yen Bai's Party Unit's office, insisted that Ngoc had received scholarship funds totalling VND74 million (US$3,884).
What's more, Hawaiian education authorities ordered SPU to halt its operations in 2003 after the school was found to have violated higher education regulations. Some online reports suggest that SPU has since shifted its base of operations to Malaysia.
Yen Bai's authorities will await the findings of the Party investigators before taking any action, said Hoang Thuong Luong, chairman of the provincial People's Committee.