Guangdong Investment's unaccredited MBAs
18 January 2011
Here we go again - in the course of writing today's other story on Applied Development Holdings Ltd, we came across a diploma mill called "International East-West University" (IEWU), purportedly of Hawaii, USA from which one of ADH's INEDs, Mr Su Ru Jia (Mr Su), claims an MBA.
So, who else amongst HK's listed boards has such a bogus degree?
Well, one listed company boasts not one but two graduates of this esteemed entity. They are Zhang Hui (Mr Zhang) and Xu Wenfang (Ms Xu), respectively the Managing Director and a non-executive director of Guangdong Investment Ltd (GDI, 0270), which is majority owned by the government of Guangdong Province, PRC.
Mr Zhang was appointed as an Executive Director of GDI on 28-Oct-2002 and as Managing Director on 5-Dec-2002. From the 2002 annual report onwards, his biography has included the MBA from IEWU. Ms Xu was appointed NED on 3-Mar-2005, she has claimed an MBA in each annual report from 2004 onwards, but didn't say where it was from until the 2009 annual report. She has also been an NED of Kingway Brewery Holdings Ltd (0124) since 3-Nov-2010.
IEWU was incorporated in Hawaii. On 22-Jul-2002, the Office of Consumer Protection of Hawaii sued IEWU and Cheng Chung-ying (Mr Cheng), a Hawaii resident and director of IEWU, stating that IEWU had since 1-Jul-1999 operated a degree-granting institution which had never been accredited by an agency or association recognized by the United States Secretary of Education. Despite IEWU's claims in marketing materials to be in Hawaii, the State also said that IEWU did not have an office there.
On 20-Jan-2004, the State, IEWU and Mr Cheng agreed to a permanent injunction and final judgment, promising to comply with Hawaii's Unaccredited Degree Granting Institutions Law in future, and paying a fine of US$5,000.
On 19-Dec-2008, someone made an attempt in Hawaii to register the similar-sounding "East West University LLC" (EWU) with an address in Lisbon, Portugal. The Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection responded with a questionnaire to determine whether EWU was operating an unaccredited degree granting institution. After no response was received, on 27-Jan-2009 the state issued a "subpoena duces tecum". Then on 27-Feb-2009, still with no response, the state asked the court to order EWU to show cause why it is not in contempt, with a fine of US$500 per day until such time as it fully complies. A court hearing was set for 31-Mar-2009, and when EWU did not show up, it was held in contempt.
While Mr Zhang, Ms Xu and Mr Su are the only current directors with IEWU "degrees" that we can find, there is also Ms Tian Fengying, who is not a director but a Deputy General Manager of Dynasty Fine Wines Group Ltd (DFW, 0828). Former directors and officials with an IEWU degree include:
- Mr Gao Xiaode, an ED and General Manager of DFW from 10-Aug-2004 to 1-Jan-2006
- Ms Elizabeth Lee Ran, Vice Chairman of Artel Solutions Group Holdings Ltd (0931) from 8-Feb-2006 to 3-Jul-2006.
- Mr Liu Wei, an NED of Guangdong Nan Yue Logistics Co Ltd (3399) from 28-Oct-2002 to 19-Jun-2009, and Mr Liu Zhi Quan, Secretary of the Board of the same company until 2009.
If we've missed anyone out, please let us know.
© Webb-site.com, 2011
Organisations in this story
- China LNG Group Limited
- DYNASTY FINE WINES GROUP LIMITED
- GUANGDONG INVESTMENT LIMITED
- Guangdong Yueyun Transportation Company Limited
People in this story
- Gao, Xiaode
- Lee, Elizabeth Ran
- Liu, Wei (1959)
- Liu, Zhi Quan (1965)
- Su, Ru Jia
- Tian, Fengying
- Xu, Wenfang
- Zhang, Hui (HKID:R150XXX)