18 Jun 2004: Clampdown on Bogus Colleges
The government has given details of a new register designed to stop people entering Britain by posing as students. Ministers want to stop people gaining visas by claiming to be students at bogus colleges. From now on, all colleges and other educational establishments will have to register with the Department for Education and Skills. Visas will only be granted to students enrolling at registered establishments.
The announcement came as three men arrested during police raids on Wednesday to smash an alleged student visa scam were appearing in court on immigration and money laundering charges. In April, the Home Secretary David Blunkett announced that a clampdown was on the way. The register will be up and running by the end of the year.
Education Secretary Charles Clarke said: “Student mobility is a welcome feature of 21st-Century globalisation and we benefit from it. “The recent British Council report showed that students from overseas currently contribute £3 billion a year to the UK economy. “But, we must make sure the system is not abused.
Those coming to study here must be genuine students studying at a genuine and approved college.” Officials say education providers who receive public funding or are accredited will automatically be added to the register. Private colleges which are not accredited will need to register over the next few months. Private English language schools are being encouraged to seek accreditation with existing bodies such as the British Council or the Association of British Language Schools.
07 Jul 2004: Shadow Foreign Secretary – Michael Ancram in ‘University’ Dispute With Prasenjit Kumar Singh
A dispute has broken out over the use of the term “university” by some US organisations serving students in the UK. The Department for Education and Skills says it is reporting the Wyoming-based Preston University and Halifax University for using the title without permission.
Halifax has also upset the Conservative Party by saying its campuses in London and Birmingham were launched in a grand ceremony by the deputy leader, the shadow foreign secretary, Michael Ancram. A university spokesman insists this is what happened – and says there is nothing wrong with the use of “university” in a trading name. Ancram did attend a Preston “graduation ceremony” at a hotel in London last year and handed out diplomas and medals to students. A party spokesman said that, while he was there, it was announced that its associated institution, Halifax University, was opening campuses in London and in Birmingham. He had welcomed this, out of politeness – but that had been the extent of his involvement.
The disputed claim was repeated on Halifax University’s UK website. “These campuses were launched in a grand ceremony by Rt Hon Michael Ancram, QC, MP The Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs and the Deputy British opposition leader.” The Conservative Party spokesman said it asked for this to be toned down. But in the prospectus for Preston University, Middlesex, are photographs of Mr Ancram at its ceremony in May 2003, along with another Tory MP, Peter Luff, and the 1999 Miss World, Yukta Mookhey.
The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) said in a statement that Preston University and Halifax University were American institutions with operations in the UK. “Because the word ‘university’ is protected under UK law, both of the organisations … have been reported to Companies House for use of the word ‘university’ without permission to do so in the UK.”
Companies House regulates the use of business names. Preston and Halifax are “licensed” by the Wyoming state department of education as degree-awarding private institutions. Preston’s UK campus is in Hayes, west of London. Its website says: “Preston University Middlesex campus is the trading name of Preston International College London Limited and is a part of Preston University world wide chain.” It has a letter from the UK Home Office, dated 5 March 2002, confirming it as a bona fide private educational establishment and saying that its qualifications are “acceptable”.
But the DfES said it did not comment on the quality or authenticity of private or foreign institutions. “Our only argument with Preston is that they shouldn’t operate in the UK using the name ‘University’ without prior Privy Council Office approval. “The letter gives a Home Office view on whether Preston University and its degrees are ‘acceptable’ – for immigration purposes.”
Preston’s website says awards of degrees are conditional upon satisfactory completion of all coursework, a dissertation or thesis and written professorial approval – and payment of all fees, which are £3,900 a year for a Bachelor of Business Administration, for example. “All official academic documents are embossed with the Preston University seal. These documents also have a covered letter sealed by the department of education State of Wyoming USA,” it says. It adds: “Upon request, Preston University Middlesex may get the degree legalized by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London where it will be signed by an official on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government.”
The Dean of Preston University, Middlesex, Dr Prasenjit Kumar Singh, said that, for a fee, the Foreign Office would attest that the degree certificate, seal and stamp were genuine. He stressed that it was made very clear, however, that his institution was not offering UK degrees – which would be illegal. He said there were 300 students at the Middlesex campus, on both undergraduate and PhD courses, and a number of highly qualified faculty members, working both full-time and part-time mostly teaching business and information technology. Singh said Halifax University was not run by the same company as Preston but was “under the same management”.
Halifax had a £1.2m building in Birmingham and had “inaugurated” its London campus but did not yet have a site for it, although this is not clear from the Halifax website – parts of which appear to be identical to pages on the websites of other, long-established universities. Singh said his advice had been that it was not an offence to use the “university” title in the UK provided it also said clearly this was a college’s trading name. He disputed the Conservative Party’s version of Mr Ancram’s involvement in launching the new campuses.
Singh said previously that he welcomed the government’s move to compile a register of genuine colleges in the UK, in response to concerns about bogus students obtaining visas. “There are more than a hundred private colleges with two or three rooms in London, I’m sad to say, but we didn’t practise that way – we have a very reputable organisation, within our own limitations,” he said. “I’m so fed up with some other establishments,” he said. He added: “We are a bona fide establishment and meeting the requirements of the UK immigration rules.”
Halifax University’s US website says it “proudly announces the official openings of three new campuses, as London, Birmingham, UK and Dublin in Southern Ireland. BBC news
The History of Dr Prasenjit Kumar Singh’s Educational Enterprises
Albert College Limited: 39 Welbeck Street, W1G 8DR London (18 October 2005-13 January 2012). Compulsory Wound up: Court Order.
In 2007, London University complained that Albert College was offering its students some of the university’s external courses, but had not asked for up-to-date study materials and had never put forward any candidates for examination. Northumbria University also complained that Albert College was advertising the university’s distance-learning law course in its prospectus without the right to do so and threatened legal action.
Halifax College (UK) Limited: 31 August 2004 – 13 January 2012 (declared insolvent) Compulsory Wound up.
Established in 2004 as the British arm of Halifax University in Wyoming whose degree courses were not accredited by the US Department of Education. The British branch attempted to describe itself as a university but the government intervened to stop it. This caused some embarrassment for the Conservative party (which was in opposition at the time) because one of the party’s grandees, Michael Ancram, had performed the opening ceremony. Although Halifax College ended up insolvent, in 2009 it made donations to the Conservative party in Reading West amounting to £5,000. At the time, Reading West was a marginal constituency held by Labour. The following year, Alok Sharma captured it for the Conservatives.
Preston International College London Ltd: (16 Mar 2004-18 Apr 2005)
Honor Among Thieves – Preston University Diploma Mill. Preston University Ajman now has more than thousand students in its various programs. In the UK, it has invited MPs such as Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs Michael Ancram and former Miss World Yukta Mukhi to dish out degrees during a graduation ceremony in the recent past. It is operating the “Halifax University” enterprise in the UK as well. With more than 50 campuses worldwide, Preston “University” is fooling thousands of students by claiming that they are obtaining an “American” degree……..I don’t know how its owners can sleep at night. Don’t they ever consider that they are playing on the gullibility of these students? But one thing is for sure: They are making a heap of money. Regardless of what they might counterclaim, the quoted materials on this blog are self explanatory. Preston cannot claim that the information on this blog is false.
Full story here: http://theprestonuniversityfraud.blogspot.co.uk/
Halifax Educational Research Ltd: 1 Darris Close, Hayes, Middlesex, UB4 9RX. ( 26 May 2010) Wound up.
Birmingham College UK LLP: (16/03/04-18/04/05): Wound up.
Techno School of Business & Engineering Ltd: 1 Darris Close, Hayes, Middlesex, UB4 9RX. (26 May 2010) Wound up.
Narsingha Private Limited, Ground Floor, The Glass Centre, Brierley Hill, DY5 3EP. (06 August 2014-05 September 2014) Wound up.
Swiss College of Management Ltd. Berne, CH-036.3.054.566-8, Morgenstrasse 148, 3018 Berne, Aktiengesellschaft (10 Jul 2012-15 Oct 2015) Liquidated
Purpose: The Company aims to provide students and graduates with scientific and professional courses in business administration and management. The Company may engage in all commercial, contractual, financial and other activities which promote the Company’s purpose or which are directly or indirectly related to it. The Company may participate in other companies in Switzerland and abroad and may establish, acquire and dispose of branches and subsidiaries. The Company may acquire, hold, encumber and sell real estate both domestically and abroad. Share capital: CHF 100,000.00. Payment of share capital: CHF 50’000.00. Shares: 1’000 registered shares at CHF 100.00. Publication organ: SHAB. Notifications to shareholders: Publication in SOGC, by letter or e-mail. According to the declaration of 10.07.2012, the limited revision was waived.
Registered persons: Kumar Singh, Prasenjit, British citizen, in Middlesex (UK), President, with individual signature; Lal-Nagar, Neelam, from Rohrbachgraben, in Hinterkappelen (Wohlen near Bern), member, with individual signature.
Director, London School Of Executive Training Ltd, 1 Darris Close, Hayes, UB4 9RX. ( 22 August 2016-Active)
12 Nov 2017: College chums: another academic link in the Mifsud puzzle
The London School of Executive Training (LSET) is a dynamic institution located in the heart of London with a “world-renowned” teaching faculty…..or so its website says.
As part of its mission “to drive global transformation”, the school aims to attract “business leaders, bureaucrats, politicians, lawyers” and others for short courses lasting one to four weeks. A one-week course costs £1,500 which includes some sightseeing and, for the better-off students, “helicopter hire is available”.
A photo on LSET’s website shows a substantial stone-and brick building which casual observers might assume to be the school. The website doesn’t give its exact location but a few checks on Google show that the building is Hamilton House in Bloomsbury, best known as the headquarters of the National Union of Teachers. However, Hamilton House also has spare rooms that can be hired for meetings……which appears to be where LSET fits in.
LSET is the latest in a series of academic or fringe-academic institutions with links to Joseph Mifsud, the now-vanished professor at the centre of the Trump/Russia affair.
In 2014 LSET told inspectors it was “working in partnership” with the London Academy of Diplomacy where Mifsud was director until the academy’s recent closure.
The owner of LSET is Prasenjit Kumar Singh, a donor to the British Conservative party who, in a post on Facebook, has described Mifsud as one of his “good old friends”.
That in itself might not be significant……..Mifsud appears to have been a virtuoso networker……but Singh was also a Facebook friend of Olga Polonskaya, the mysterious Russian woman who in March last year attended a meeting with Mifsud and Trump “adviser” George Papadopoulos posing as a niece of President Putin.
Last month, Mifsud and Singh both attended a Conservative party fundraising dinner where they were photographed with foreign secretary Boris Johnson. Singh posted the photo on Facebook, where it was “liked” by Ms Polonskaya.
LSET was inspected in 2014 by the British Accreditation Council which gave it a broadly favourable report while noting that at the time it had a total of
only five students.
Before launching LSET in December 2013, Singh was involved in a succession of failed educational businesses:
13 November 2017: London School Of Executive Training Ltd – linked to Trump/Russia affair covers its tracks
The London School of Executive Training: one of a number of quasi-academic institutions linked to the Trump/Russia affair….clearly has something to hide. Exposure of Singh’s relations with vanished professor Joseph Mifsud and with a Russian woman who posed as Putin’s niece and with British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, has resulted in the deletion of all mention of its board of governors from its website.
The school’s action echoes a similar move by the London Centre of International Law Practice (LCILP) which deleted staff profiles from its website once it became known that Mifsud…….the middleman in the Trump-Russia affair………and Trump adviser George Papadopoulos had been colleagues together at LCILP for several months last year.
The London School of Executive Training (LSET). People listed as governors:
Dr Prem Sharma, OBE FRSA – Chairman Board of Governors: Sharma is the father of Alok Sharma, Conservative MP for Reading West. He has held senior positions within the Conservative Party for decades. He is also the founder Patron of Conservative Parliamentary Friends of India and was recently awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen.
Mr K.V. Rajan: Chairperson LSET Advisory Council – Asia Pacific: K. V. Rajan is a former member of the Indian Foreign Service. He has served in many senior diplomatic assignments, including the rank of Ambassador, in a number of countries including France, USA, UK, Zambia, Algeria and Nepal. He holds over a dozen positions within various Governmental and Non-Governmental organisations including several institutions of Higher Learning.
Peter Sage: Adjunct Professor of George Washington University, (teaches yoga): Member: Ananda Marga Movement
Sage has been working in the academic area for the last 10 years and is serving as an Adjunct Professor of George Washington University, (teaches yoga). He provides exceptional guidance and support to the academic department of London School of Executive Training College. http://petersage.info/bio/
Mr. Peter Bowyer: Sole Director, UK Learning Academy. Offers qualifications in management and other related areas. http://www.uklearningservicesltd.co.uk/uk-learning-academy
Professor Iain Dewar: An independent Education Management Professional. Currently seeking teaching and examiner roles : Iain Dewar Training Caledonian University Glasgow. Key attribute is in providing the opportunity for students to develop not just their knowledge but to assist them to develop learning strategies by which they learn the techniques and mechanisms to allow them to explore real time business cases and be able to focus on the real issues and present realistic and viable solutions to issues identified.
Dr Charles Chatterjee who studied law at the University of Cambridge and the University of London held several professorial positions in international commercial and criminal law at UK Universities. Dr Chatterjee is also a Barrister in England and Wales and has been practising law for over 20 years. He is currently a Senior Associate Fellow of Warwick University and an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London and a visiting academic at the London Diplomatic Academy (the recently-closed institution where the recently-disappeared Joseph Mifsud was director).
Marie Haughey, MBE: Owner, Work Permit Experts Ltd: Worked for over 40 years in the Civil Service. Served the UK Border Agency as Regional Head of the Passport Agency in Northern Ireland Later served as an Assistant Director in the UK Border Agency, and for her exemplary public service, was honoured with an MBE.
Second career: Work Permit Experts Ltd. Marie Haughey MBE and her team are are specialists in all areas of United Kingdom immigration casework work (except asylum) and are expert in corporate immigration compliance matters. We have been providing specialist immigration advice and services for over 15 years. We have offices in central London (Wapping – not far from Tower Bridge), central Sheffield and Londonderry Northern Ireland. We differ from many other reputable immigration advisers in that our consultants are lawyers and former employees of The Home Office (and other Government Departments) having detailed knowledge and experience of policy, practice and procedure in The Home Office. We represent both individual and corporate clients, presenting applications and making representations to The Home Office in the most effective and professional manner.
An example of the service provision of Marie Haughey MBE:
I went with my partner to this immigration law firm, as she was looking to switch from a Tier 2 work visa to a Tier 1 General visa. She had talked to one of the directors, Marie Haughey (MBE) on the phone prior to visiting, outlining her case, and was told that their fee was £750 and they had an in-person appointment for the Home Office within a week available for her case. When we got there for our appointment with a fellow Director of the company, we were immediately told that the fee was actually £995, non-negotiable. We were mad, but after a bit were prepared to accept it, as we’d gone through all the trouble and really needed that appointment. Then after half an hour of document checking, we were then told that he didn’t have an appointment available for this week, but one for 2 weeks time! That defeated the whole purpose as we really needed to get the visa done within a week, and so we left, empty handed, and cross. Avoid this law firm at all costs… they don’t seem to care about customer service at all, they’re a small company, the professionalism was just not there, and they change their fees whenever they want. Plus we found that other immigration law firms were offering the same services for £700-£850! https://www.yelp.co.uk/biz/work-permit-experts-wapping
David Webb: Retd. Superintendent Commander of Police: David Webb worked in the police force for more than 25 years. He joined Hertfordshire Constabulary and transferred to the West Midlands Police before retiring as Superintendent Commander of Police in Birmingham. He pioneered Community Policing and is the author of “Policing the Rainbow,” which promotes the philosophy and practice of policing a multi-racial society.
Prasenjit Kumar Singh: owner of LSET. An Engineer by profession, Prasenjit Kumar Sing is the think tank behind the success of a group of Colleges for the last 14 years. He has also served as the President and Chancellor of a US based University for eight years. The undivided devotion and effort he has put into the group has resulted in some well-established Colleges and numerous companies internationally.
The first part is rubbish. As reported yesterday, before launching LSET in December 2013, Singh was involved in a succession of failed educational businesses.
He also seems reluctant to name the “US based university” of which he claims to be president and chancellor but it may be one of these. “Anandamurtijee” in the last sentence refers to Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, founder of the Indian Ananda Marga movement.
In 2009, one of Singh’s educational ventures, Halifax College (UK) Limited, donated £5,000 to the Conservative party in Reading West……… money which presumably helped Alok Sharma to capture the seat for the Tory Party from Labour a few months later.
Last month Singh and the elusive Mifsud both attended a Conservative fundraising dinner in Sharma’s constituency where they were photographed alongside foreign secretary Boris Johnson.
11 Nov 2017: Putin’s niece – Russian Honey Trap and Brexit Activist Dr Prasenjit Kumar Singh
On Friday, the New York Times identified a woman in the documents whom Mifsud introduced to a Trump campaign operative, George Papadopoulos, as “Putin’s niece”.
The New York Times named her as Olga Polonskaya, 30, from St Petersburg, the former manager of a wine distribution company. The FBI documents state that she has high-level connections to the Russian government.
And she is also a contact of Singh’s, though he claims he had no idea of her connection to the Trump-Russia investigation until told by the Observer. He said he had met her at Link Campus University in Rome, where Mifsud was based. “I had no idea she called herself ‘Putin’s niece’! She was just a normal student. Very nice. An ordinary girl.” He said she had rung him “about two and a half months ago” and had asked to meet.
“I was with my family and we were going to the Westfield shopping centre and I said: ‘Yes, come and meet me there.’ She was going to translate my website – for the London Executive School – from English into Russian so I could try and attract more Russian students. She did that: I just haven’t put it up yet.”
She had not been in touch since, Singh said. Nor had he heard from Mifsud who appears to have gone to ground. Polonskaya has now changed the privacy settings on her Facebook page, but a freelance investigative journalist, Gavin Sheridan, had already downloaded her data and discovered she had “liked” the photo of Joseph Mifsud and Boris Johnson and a status update of Prasenjit Kumar Singh that showed him with Theresa May.
Chris Bryant MP, the vice chair of the all-party parliamentary Russia group, said: “It’s all distinctly fishy. Boris Johnson’s relationship with the truth right now seems distinctly casual.
We asked him about Russian interference in Brexit in the foreign affairs committee last week and he categorically denied he had seen a shred of evidence.
I just thought ‘blimey’. Even as a junior minister in the foreign office, Russian stuff came across my desk every single day.” Guardian
If you are interested in the unfolding story follow this chap: https://twitter.com/brian_whit?lang=en