The auditor office said on Monday that health ministry permanent secretary Christina Yiannaki’s Egyptian dentistry degree is “authentic”, after weeks of speculation over its validity.
The speculation reached fever pitch when health minister Popi Kanari penned an open letter to Yiannaki earlier this month, calling on her to prove the validity and authenticity of her qualifications and her ability to speak English.
The office said they published the verification “taking into account that part of public opinion, as expressed by announcements and posts of organised and individual citizens, continues to question the authenticity of [Christina Yiannaki’s] qualifications, calling into question both directly and directly the reliability of the audit service”.
They pointed out that a request had been submitted to them regarding Yiannaki’s qualifications in 2021, and that a full investigation had been carried out, with multiple documents investigated.
One of those documents was the original degree scroll, which the audit office said had been written in “Egyptian”. This document was translated by the Republic of Cyprus’s press and information office.
In addition, the Dean of Cairo University’s faculty of dentistry signed a paper in 2015 stating that Yiannaki had graduated from the university in 2015 having taken a degree in which the teaching and examinations were in English.
The certificate which has been widely shared on the internet was also investigated, and this turned out to be a certificate of four years’ study at the university, preceded by one year of preparatory study in natural sciences.
This certificate was translated into Greek in 1983 by the consulate general of Greece in Cairo.
Another similar certificate, issued in 1984, stated that Yiannaki had continued her studies at Cairo University for a year after graduating in a “training course”.
Also taken as evidence was a certificate from 1983 from the Greek Interuniversity centre for the recognition of foreign qualifications, which confirmed that Yiannaki’s Egyptian degree was of equal standing to dentistry degrees obtained in Greece.
There was also a certificated of confirmation from the Cypriot health ministry that Yiannaki was listed on the Cypriot dentists’ register in 1983.
In addition, there were letters from Christos Marti, professor of maxillofacial surgery at the University of Athens’s dentistry department accepting Yiannaki’s request to begin specialising in maxillofacial surgery.
Letters of recommendation were also penned from professors Erik Hjorting-Hansen of the Royal Dental Clinic of Copenhagen and Ake Nordensam of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, where she completed residencies at their respective maxillofacial surgery departments.
Marti also issued Yiannaki multiple certificates in 1991 for her work as a specialist in maxillofacial surgery at the Evangelismos hospital.
She also received a reference letter from the director of the neurosurgery clinic of the University of Athens, and four letters of approval from the Cypriot health ministry, allowing her to practise surgery to complete the year of required postgraduate training to obtain the title of maxillofacial surgery specialist.
This year of required postgraduate training was completed at the Nicosia general hospital and certified by Dr Symeonides and Dr Maliotis. She was then declared “successful” in her examinations regarding the speciality by the Greek health ministry in 1994 and granted practising licences in Greece and Cyprus.
Also listed in evidence was that Yiannaki received a “certificate of attendance” of the Karolinska Instituet in 2001 in a master’s programme in dental health management.
The audit office also said they accepted that Yiannaki spoke English as she had completed her studies in English.