Ponta guilty of plagiarism, could be stripped of his PhD

Newsroom 30/06/2016 | 13:29

Former Prime Minister Victor Ponta was found guilty of plagiarism by a commission appointed by the National Council for Attesting Titles, Diplomas and Certificates (CNATDCU). He could be stripped of his PhD, four years after becoming embroiled in a plagiarism row.

On Wednesday June 29 the Technical Committee with the CNATDCU ruled that Victor Ponta’s PhD title, which he obtained in Law in 2003, was plagiarized. The decision was taken by vote. Out of the 35 members present, 34 voted in favor and there was one abstention.

Ponta can challenge the decision within 10 days. Should he decide so, according to protocol, the CNATDCU will appoint a three-member commission whose task will be that to analyze the decision.

On Thursday morning the committee’s final report was submitted for analysis to CNATDCU’s General Council.

Suspicions over PM Ponta’s PhD title surfaced in 2012, when Nature magazine published an article based on excerpts submitted by anonymous whistleblower. According to the magazine, more than half of Ponta’s 432-pages PhD thesis on the functioning of the International Criminal Court consisted of duplicated content. At the time, Victor Ponta had just taken office as Romania’s PM after the resignation of Emil Boc.

The coordinator of Victor Ponta’s PhD is former Romanian PM Adrian Nastase. Nastase was sentenced to two years in prison for corruption.

In 2012 and 2014 Ponta received two decisions from the CNATDCU as well as from the High Court of Justice and Cassation (ICCJ) that rejected the plagiarism allegations.

In a recent reaction to the CNATDCU decision, Ponta wrote on his social media account: “O, the technocrats have solved the main problem of this country – they took away my doctorate as well (just like Basescu in 2012)!

I understand that now (after this great victory) everything will be fine – from today on budget revenues will increase, we will leave the deficit behind. From today on we will start receiving the EU money we didn’t so far. From today on we are paying the subsidies in agriculture, we raise the salaries and pensions. From today on babies will not die in hospitals anymore,” Ponta wrote.

“I am honored by the effort that the grand technocrat Government made just for me – an emergency ordinance just for me, a Commission just for me (when I received the ‘no plagiarism’ verdict in 2012 from that very CNACTDU another thesis was also under investigation – I bet you don’t have the “Courage” [the name of the Minister of Education is Adrian Curaj] to revisit that too. A final decision in my favor by the ICCJ ignored! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, dear politruks!

From today on I will start working on a new PhD thesis on the topic “The Fabulous Technocrat Governance and its great achievements for the Romanian people” – that will be fun!”, Ponta wrote.

Victor Ponta made headlines after the Istanbul Ataturk Airport terrorist attacks when he announced he had been very close to the site of the explosions.

Georgeta Gheorghe

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