University of Johannesburg professor accused of academic theft

17 April 2018 - 12:26 By Kgaugelo Masweneng
The University of Johannesburg Auckland Park Kingsway Campus. File photo.
The University of Johannesburg Auckland Park Kingsway Campus. File photo.
Image: Google

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is to conduct an investigation after a professor in botany and plant biotechnology was accused of academic theft by a student.

Henry Iheanacho claims the professor stole his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) research data. The student registered with the institution in 2013 and was supposed to finish his research in 2015 but could not as he was inundated with research topics from his supervisor‚ the academic he has accused.

“When I started she asked that we change my initial research topic and I did because I took it she was guiding me. From there she gave me different topics‚ up to six topics. Mind you‚ I submitted my results to her all the time and whenever I was almost done she would change the topic‚” said Iheanacho.

According to him‚ the professor took some of his research data and published it under a fellow student’s name. He was shocked when the institution accused of him academic fraud.

They accused me of stealing my own work.

“At first I didn’t know that my work is being published and stolen‚ I realised this during the disciplinary hearing. They accused me of stealing my own work. I had all the records of my work and then I appealed the accusation‚” he said.

Iheanacho claimed his work was published in a journal in South Africa and Canada under a different heading but the results were identical to his original work. He said he had been fighting the matter since 2015 and has yet to finish his PhD.

“When you steal someone’s academic work‚ you are abusing them. At some point in 2016 I was hospitalised at Helen Josephs for depression because of this. I want justice‚ I want to finish my PhD‚” said Iheanacho.

“It is with concern that the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has learnt about the claims of plagiarism which involves a senior academic within UJ‚” said UJ spokesperson Herman Esterhuizen.

“The University is recognised for its academic integrity‚ which is a core value of UJ. In line with this Institutional and collective commitment‚ the University nevertheless takes note of the allegations made on social media platforms and is currently conducting a preliminary investigation.”

Efforts have been made to contact the accused person.