Former radio personality and former Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA)Gerald Viola does not cease to make controversial headlines. A press release issued by Azteca University on Wednesday, 23 June 2021, reveals that Viola’s claims that he has been awarded a PhD by the institute are not true.
“On behalf of Azteca University, we write to inform the public that the University has not conferred a PhD to Mr Gerald Viola,” reads the press release in part, adding the ‘communique’ had been issued based on a congratulatory message that has been circulated on the social media “acclaiming Mr Gerald Viola as a PhD Graduate”
The press release, which has been issued by the ‘Office of the University Registrar’, explains that the regalia for PhD Graduates is a gown and a Tudor Bonnet.
“However, it should be admitted that Mr Gerald Viola graduated for a Degree of Master of Public Administration (MPA) with our University hence the regalia on the circulating poster is for the Master’s Degree not PhD.
“Considering that this is a severe misconduct that interferes with the reputation and integrity of our University, we strongly disown the PhD Award that Mr Gerald Viola is claiming to have. We wish to inform the public that the awards by Azteca University can be verified on our website (univ-azteca.edu.mx) and employers (and other interested parties) can ask for the confirmation of the award.
“Azteca University, being listed in the UNESCO’s World Handbook of Universities (www.unesco-whed.org) will strongly safeguard its reputation and take strong action for any misconduct,” concludes the statement.
Responding to the ‘communique’, Viola took to the social media to ‘disown’ the said ‘congratulatory’ poster, claiming “it is all politics of Malawi to make sure that I dance to the sour music”.
“I have learnt with shock that some people created messages purporting that I have graduated with a PhD from Azteca University. The fact of the matter is that I am a student pending completion and graduation of the program in few months,” says Viola, adding he feels greatly injured and apologizes to the university “for the damage caused”.
But Viola’s refutation may not be entirely true because in his CV posted online recently, he indicates that he holds a PhD, Development Studies (Management).
“It pleased the University to admit me into the PhD Studies that have seen me getting through with a doctoral degree in 2021,” reads Viola’s CV under the ‘Education’ section.
Not short of controversy
Gerald Viola, who has also served in government as presidential media aide under former President Peter Mutharika and Technical and Advisor in the Ministry of Information and Communications, is no stranger to controversy.
In July, 2020, Police in Chikwawa arrested Viola for allegedly surrendering a government vehicle, Toyota Corolla saloon registration number MG 489AE, as collateral in obtaining a loan. The government vehicle had been missing for over a year until it was spotted at Ngabu Trading Centre in the district.
At the time the vehicle was discovered, Viola had allegedly changed its registration number to ZA 8831. He was charged with an offence of “theft by public servant”. He is currently on bail.
On October 1, 2020, he was also arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested Viola in his capacity as Deputy CEO for NFRA on charges bordering on corruption and abuse of office. According to the ACB, the Deputy CEO had allegedly “unilaterally issued LPO number 6759to a company called Missies Trading to supply 10,000 metric tonnes of maize to NFRA for the advantage of Mr Chrispin Chingola of Missies Trading without involving Internal Procurement and Disposal of Assets Committee”. He is on bail.
In May 2019, in the midst of Malawi’s tripartite elections, Viola, who was DPP parliamentary candidate for Chikwawa South, was implicated in a ‘rigging plot’ after being found in possession of ‘marked ballot papers’. He was held and questioned briefly by the police before being released but that was after being heavily beaten by rival party supportersFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :