By ISAAC ONGIRI | Nation Media | Oct 12, 2012 Politicians who present fake academic certificates to get clearance to run for office in the coming General Election will be disqualified and prosecuted, the electoral commission has warned. Electoral commission chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan said they will only accept certified copies of academic certificates from colleges and institutions recognised in Kenya and warned that it was a criminal offence to present fake documents. Papers certified Mr Hassan asked politicians preparing to contest for various offices to make arrangements so as to have their documents certified in time to avoid trouble with the commission during clearance. We will follow the law strictly. Even though we may not have the capacity to instantly authenticate the documents presented, an evaluation will be done and action taken against culprits found to have presented fake documents, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman said. He said the commission is expecting about 20,000 candidates to participate in the coming elections, but cautioned that it will do its best to ensure fake papers are detected. Speaking to the Nation on Thursday, the commission boss asked the public to report politicians who do not have valid academic papers but are campaigning for various seats so that their papers can be examined carefully. We will at the initial stage insist on certified academic copies. A follow up will later on be done with the relevant institutions, Mr Hassan said. Several politicians have gone back to school in recent days to upgrade their academic qualifications so as to avoid being disqualified following compulsory educational requirements for various positions. Back to school Water Minister Charity Ngilu graduated last Friday at the St Pauls University to satisfy a requirement that presidential candidate must have a degree. Former Sports Minister Maina Kamanda, who is running for the Starehe parliamentary seat, yesterday confirmed that he graduated last September from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. Housing Minister Soita Shitanda, who is in the race for the Kakamega governors seat, said he is now a graduate after obtaining a Bachelors Degree in Management from Britain. But Kangundo MP Johnstone Muthama, who had previously announced he will be contesting the Machakos senate seat, has moved to court to challenge the degree requirement in the Elections Act.