LIMA – Businessman Cesar Acuña, the Peruvian Alianza Para el Progreso party’s candidate in the April 10 presidential election, was accused of plagiarism in writing his 2009 doctoral thesis at Madrid’s Universidad Complutense.
The daily El Comercio said that the alleged plagiarism was discovered on Tuesday by two Peruvian researchers.
The paper said anthropologist Sandra Rodriguez published on her Twitter account “several ... excerpts without citations in the said academic work” by Acuña entitled “Teaching competence and student academic performance at Peru’s Universidad Privada.”
Another investigator, Luis Velez, also published other excerpts from Acuña’s thesis “with content identical to other information sources without citing the respective authors,” the paper said.
El Comercio presented examples of paragraphs allegedly copied from at least five academics from Spain, Chile, Mexico and Peru.
APP spokesman Isaac Mekler told El Comercio that a “prestigious” university such as Complutense “is not going to take the risk of giving a doctoral degree to someone who plagiarizes (in) a thesis.”
On its Facebook and Twitter accounts, the Spanish university said it will investigate to “determine whether or not possible fraud was committed” by Acuña.
Meanwhile, National Elections Court chief Francisco Tavara said Wednesday that Acuña’s campaign now hinges on Complutense’s determination of whether he committed plagiarism.
Acuña, who owns several private universities in Peru, is currently tied for second place at 13 percent with former Economy Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in voter surveys. Keiko Fujimori is in first place with 33 percent.