An investigation has revealed that Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection, Dr Bishop Chomba is not a double PhD holder from “Oxford University (Trinity College)” and “Princeton University (Woodrow Wilson)” as he claims to have on his government endorsed biography.
But Bishop Chomba has complained that people whom he may have offended through his political commentary in the past are up to destroying his integrity using lies and malicious allegations.
When informed that the universities he claims to have attended disowned him, Bishop Chomba said the learning institutions he went to would never give out any information about his credentials because they respect principles of anonymity.
A whistleblower tipped News Diggers! that the Permanent Secretary had been flaunting fake qualifications to employers.
According to his biography posted on the zambiawaterforum.com
“Dr. Bishop Ed Chomba is a double PhD Holder from Oxford University (Trinity College) in England and Princeton University (Woodrow Wilson) USA. Dr. Chomba is a Consecrated Bishop in the Orthodox Church in the Archdiocese of New England East Coast States of United States of America. He Practices Law in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and British Isles except Scotland, also in the East Coat and Mid-west of USA.
Further, in an interview with The Water Voice newsletter, journal of the Zambian National Water Supply and Sanitation Council published in January 2017, he stated:
QUESTION: We know you as a Bishop but what really is your profession?
ANSWER: I am a lawyer, an immigration lawyer, specialising in constitutional law and immigration. I do practice law in the United Kingdom and all its British isles except Scotland. And I also practice in seventeen states along the east coast and in the mid-west of the United States of America.
But when asked to confirm if Bishop Chomba was a graduate from the said institutions, the universities said there were no records on their data base, dating from as far back as 1930, showing his name.
The institutions asked responded as follows to the News Diggers! Press Query:
Dear Mr Mwenda
We have been asked about Mr Chomba’s credentials on previous occasions. We have no record of his ever having been registered as a student at Trinity College, Oxford. I am copying this reply to my colleagues at the University’s Research Degrees Office, who will be able to confirm whether he has been awarded any doctoral degree from the University. The College does not hold this information. (The digitised College records that have been checked go back to the 1930s.)
(Dean, Trinity College, Oxford)
Elisabeth Donahue at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs passed along your request regarding Ed Chomba’s claim of having a degree from Princeton.
Princeton has no record of anyone by the name of Ed Chomba having attended the University.
You have our permission to forward this note [to] the media as you see fit, and you may tell them that if they want to seek confirmation they can contact our media relation’s team via email to [email protected].
Assistant Vice President
Office of Communications
Thank you for emailing the Bar Standards Board (BSB) Press Office.
The BSB’s records date back to the 1960s and we can confirm that there is no record of anyone by the name of Dr Bishop Ed Chomba or Ed Chomba being a member of the Bar of England and Wales and being authorised to practise as a barrister here.
However, you should note that barristers are not the only types of lawyer in England and Wales and our records relate only to barristers. You might like to try the Solicitors Regulation Authority to ascertain whether Mr Chomba is a solicitor.
The Bar Council
289-293 High Holborn
London WC1V 7HZ
Dear Mr Mwenda,
Thank you for your email of 16 April 2018.
I am unable to find a solicitor on the roll in the name of Dr. Bishop Ed Chomba.
We are the independent regulator of solicitors and law firms in England and Wales, if Dr Chomba is a lawyer then he may be known to another regulatory body.
You may wish to check with the other regulators of the legal profession here, to see if they have a record of Dr Chomba.
If you wish to confirm Dr Chomba’s qualifications, then you may wish to contact the universities that awarded them or the individual themselves.
If you have any further queries please contact us.
Customer Services Adviser
Solicitors Regulation Authority
When contacted to react to the disclaimers from the institutions yesterday, Bishop Chomba said the actual institutions he attended would never give out information about his credentials without his permission, as they respect the principle of anonymity.
Below is the verbatim telephone interview with Bishop Chomba:
Question: I am following up on the request for an interview which I made on Monday, and I am calling to find out if you can give me an opportunity to come to your office today as you suggested.
Answer: I am now in Solwezi for annual general meeting, leaving for that. What and how can I help you, Joseph?
Q: Okay Bishop, the story in summary is that we would like your response to the allegation that the universities, which you say on your credentials that you attended are actually saying that they have never admitted anybody by your name.
A: Which credentials are those you are referring to? And what universities are you talking about?
Q: Well, give me a second so that I read.
Q: So, here on your biography, you say that…
A: Biography? Biography is not a credential but go ahead.
Q: No no no, I am talking about the credentials which you state in your biography.
Q: You say that; “Dr Bishop Ed Chomba is a double PhD Holder from Oxford University (Trinity College) in England and Princeton University (Woodrow Wilson) USA. Dr. Chomba is a Consecrated Bishop in the Orthodox Church in the Archdiocese of New England East Coast States of United States of America.
He practices law in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and British Isles except Scotland, also in the East Coat and Mid-west of USA.
Q: Now what the universities such as Oxford (Trinity College) and the University of Princeton say is that they have not admitted anybody by your name before.
A: (laughs) Joseph, schools [or] my learning institutions will never disclose any information to anybody without my consent. They will never do that. They will get consent from me. There is no person who is gonna go and try to get my information and they communicate without letting me know as an alumni. Okay? That is number one. Number two, I am a bishop, and I am a canon, I hope you understand what that is.
Q: I do Bishop.
A: My legal practice is based on the canon. I am a canon of the church. Now, you see, when people start talking… I remember when I was in Ndola you phoned me and you said there were some whistleblower who brought this to your attention. Correct? Now, what interest [does the whistleblower have] without beginning with me and try to find out? I have got all the credentials that I am talking about here, issued by those institutions that are church-based. And when you say that they are questioning that, what could be your interest or what could be the interest of the whistleblower? I have got my employers who employed me based on the verifications they have done. Is it again the stories that says ‘ah Bishop Chomba did not even go to a secondary school’, which were running even in 2016, when I was a head-boy at a school, and you want me to start going through into that?
Q: Not really, and I can help you. Some of the whistleblowers we have are actually from the same universities and they feel that their institutions are being used by some people who claim to have qualifications from there when in fact not.
A: What institution is that?
Q: I can give you an example…
A: No Joseph, don’t give me an example. I think we are talking with the great respect that I am talking to you and you also give me great respect, not only as a Zambian but also as a Bishop. Okay? And if they are talking about the people coming to allege that we are grudging their institutions or whatever, whatever interest they have… Already Joseph I have just told you, there is no institution that I have ever been to on all of my life to learn. Even the secondary school I went to, you go there and say ‘can we get the information’ and then they write to you. They will consult me. And I am an alumni in some of the institutions.
Q: That’s true Bishop, but I would like to find out from you. You see, from where I am standing, if I want to get a job in public office and I give my credentials to the employers; then you as a journalist would like to know if indeed I went to that institution where I claim to have gotten my diploma, and you are told that we have never admitted such a name to this institution, that would interest you as a journalists isn’t it? It’s not about getting private records of how did you pass, but we are interested in knowing if you…
A: I know that is not what you are asking me Joseph. You are not asking me how I passed, you are not asking me of my dissertations… that is public [knowledge]. I don’t know whether you know where Trinity College is located. Some of the people who taught me are still alive now. They are not dead people. In New Jersey, at Sanctus of Woodrow Wilson, you don’t know where it is. These are not backdoor type of institutions. Whatever objectives people have by trying to use you, I think it may not achieve its intended purpose. Regardless of what people want to do, if I say that I have been to Trinity College, you don’t [know] where it is.
If I recall very well, when you called me, except I was at a funeral, you said you have written those institutions and they have written back, when you look at my exegesis, there are even addresses there. It is not a place to come and say these are honorary credentials that are given, no!
So whatever intentions you may have, I know you were at The Post before and these issues about me are things that were spoken even by other leaders who were there because I became politically active. They said I ran away from the USA. That was the highest office of people, what have they achieved at the end of the day? I think that in any given way, whether I am being recorded or not. I am coming from the church and everything that I have done, all my qualifications have got an orientation of regardless of whatever happened, they have got tutorial programmes, they have got theological studies and pastoral care studies and all of that. Yes, I practice canon law, that is what I practice.
Q: That’s understood. Remember Bishop when I called you I explained that our interest is not to scandalize you, our interest is not to advance the cause of those who want to malign you. Our interest is simply to pursue the truth and help the public to know their public office bearer without adding or taking away anything.
So if you are able to help me by giving the names of the universities that you attended and say ‘those institutions you wrote to are not the correct ones I attended, instead, I went to this one, that is what will help me to tell the truth.
A: No no, I live in Zambia Joseph and I will never go away from my country. I live here, so we can find some time when I am available, we sit down together, you verify some issues. Probably that that will be the best way.
Q: Well, but here you have already given a response that an institution cannot give information about your qualifications without you giving a go ahead. So, even if I sat down with you, you are saying they will not give me the information I am looking for.
A: Joseph, I am saying to you that there is no institution that I have attended, that will give you any information about, not only a former student, but an alumni.
Q: But why is that?
A: Because the anonymity principles apply. They really do. There are some people here in this country whom I have taught, through certain institutions. Even though that is not the subject of the matter here. If you have followed me all my life and you dig deeper on my life, you will come and discover that I am a public figure. Not only from a government point of view, but from a church point of view. If your whistleblowers claim that they have also been in those institutions and they are telling you that ‘our records are not showing that he has been here’ they are being clueless. Were you not at The Post in 2009 when they attempted to scandalize me?
Q: But Bishop, I think you are mixing things from the past with what I am asking you right now… Has Joseph ever called you to enquire about your qualifications in the past? Whether at News Diggers! or at The Post, has Joseph ever engaged you on that?
A: No, of course not. This is the first time that you are calling me on this. But I am certainly sure that you have covered me at first point, second or through a third person when you were at The Post. I remember Joseph Mwenda from The Post.
Now you are saying I am mixing two things. I want to be very clear on that. I am Zambian, I live here and I have been to school. All those institutions, if you want to write to them to verify, I can provide information. I don’t go around parading honorary credentials. I went to school. (laughs).
Q: Bishop can you explain to me why people would want to pick on your credentials and want to scandalize you. Believe it or not, I am not aware that there is this campaign against you over your qualifications. So why do you think people have picked this campaign over you qualifications that they are fake?
A: It is not only about qualifications, I have been a political commentator and some of the things I have done in the past have not settled very well over what I have said with people. They may be injured in one way or the other. Just to give you a hint about political comment; I would make a political comment, and it would come out very strong and injure certain people here and there. People would take offence, it’s not me, it could me you as well. I could have some competitors in political commentary as well. If I have that, and the way we live in our society, which is different from our Western world, people get injured. But those are their own issues. My life can be traced; it does not come from the blues. The time that I finished school here, the time that I worked for Zambia Airways, the time that I went to England, and all the years that I spent in school there. And then to the USA and from the USA back into Zambia, those can be traced. So I don’t know the motive for people, but I could think about all that. The bottom line is, what is their object. [It’s] to try and make a political space for me to make a comment so that people may be able to question even my integrity? It is not fair. That is why posterity changes us and judges us in a better way. That is what I will say to you. I am grateful that you have been able to call and say ‘look this is what is going’. When I left to go to those worlds, I left a poor country, it is the people that I found there who helped me with my education and I am not dead. So in appreciating, I would say, I am actually one of the people who read News Diggers! actually (laughs). You can find News Diggers in my office, you can find it at my Church, I buy it. But not to run away from the point. I think it’s important that we are objective about those people who have come to you.
Q: Bishop I am very grateful and thank you very much for your support.
A: You are welcome, I am grateful that you called me. I have got you number, I will save it and I will call you to prove all the information. But if you are an investigatory journalist or paparazzi, you can find your own way.