Following the disclosure by Guyana Standard that her 2015 Master’s Degree in Business Administration was signed by Gary Keisling, the President of Ashworth College even though he has been dead since 2012, Superintendent of Police, Althea Padmore who serves as a Financial Investigator at the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU), informed the media today that she has since engaged the University for clarity.
This news agency had also exposed that Padmore’s certificate was signed by Dr. Leslie Gargiulo, the Vice President of the American college. But Dr. Gargiulo had left the institute since 2014. A closer look at the certificate would also reveal that the spelling of the year in which she received the certificate to be incorrect. The spelling of the year Padmore received the certificate says, “Twentieth day of June Two Thousand and Fifth-teen”.
In her statement that was issued to the press by way of her lawyer, Nigel Hughes, Padmore explained that she was not aware that there were concerns about her certificate. She also assured that she never submitted this document to secure her job at SOCU. Once she receives information about the concerns from the University, the official said she will convey same to the media.
Below is Padmore’s full statement.
This statement is issued in response to various articles appearing in the print and electronic media which allege that Althea Padmore submitted a forged certificate as the holder of a master’s degree with Honours in Business Administration in order to secure her position as a Financial Investigator at SOCU.
I joined the SOCU on the 29th March 2015 as a civilian financial investigator. At the time of my joining SOCU I was the holder of a BSC in Accountancy from the University of Guyana, a Diploma in Accountancy from the University of Guyana and a Certificate in USA Federal Taxation from Indiana University School of Continuing Studies. I also had previously worked for an accumulate period of 12 years in the areas of auditing, taxation and bank supervision.
The requirements for the post to which I was appointed at SOCU included full vetting, background checks and successful passing of a polygraph test.
Prior to joining SOCU I had commenced two online programs; a MBA and a Diploma in Event planning.
Both programs were offered by Ashworth College. These programs were not part of my application to SOCU neither were they taken into account prior to the retention of my services by SOCU.
My application for the MBA program which I financed myself was made electronically. I attach copies of my application.
I paid invoices which were submitted to me by the college and I attach copies for your perusal.
My pursuit of the MBA was interrupted by some consequential family responsibilities.
After submission of my payments to Ashworth and the completion of the matriculation requirements I was issued a certificate by the institution. I have never had reason to doubt the authenticity of the documentation issued to me and made no effort to verify the status of the signatories of the certificate or the institution other than my initial inquiries prior to the commencement of the MBA program.
I was appointed head of SOCU after the departure of Mr. Sydney James. I instituted various internal management and operational changes with the sole purpose of improving the integrity of the investigations and operations. These changes did not find favor with some members of SOCU who attempted to stymie the changes which were introduced.
The certification which I received from Ashworth was never part of any consideration undertaken by SOCU in the review of my application for employment by them, through the Ministry of Home Affairs.
I was unaware of any issue in relation to either Ashworth College or the authenticity of the certificate I received. I had since engaged Ashworth College about the allegations which have been made and I await the responses. I have been informed that Ashworth College has been taken over by Penn Foster.
I will share any future communications from Penn Foster with the press upon my receipt of their communications.