The accreditation body United Accreditation Forum (UAF), owned by North Carolina doctor Tejwant Chandi, has closed a complaint filed with it against one of its certification bodies while repeating a false claim that Oxebridge “lost” various defamation lawsuits. In fact, Oxebridge won every case it has ever been involved in, and most recently has been awarded $1.6M in damages and penalties.
The complaint arose from an independent whistleblower report which discovered irregularities in the marketing and auditing practices of the ISO 9001 registrar TNV Certifications in India. Per its own procedures, Oxebridge filed the complaint directly with TNV, which responded by threatening legal action against Oxebridge. TNV only spent 40 minutes on the issue, rejecting it outright and taking no corrective action. The issue was then escalated to TNV’s accreditation body, UAF, which delayed processing the complaint for over a year. The issue was then raised with the IAF regional body, APAC, which simply refused to process it. In all cases, the parties appear to have violated their mandatory rules on complaints processing.
In November 2020, UAF finally issued a response but repeated false claims made by TNV that Oxebridge had suffered “various lost legal cases of defamation.” Oxebridge has won every single case it has ever brought before a court.
UAF also cited as evidence a link provided by TNV of a false claim by the self-accredited certificate mill operator Daryl Guberman that falsely accuses Oxebridge of fraud. Guberman and his partner Don LaBelle have been ordered to pay Oxebrdigfe $1.6M, but have refused. The two are now in collections and face property liens and credit damage, as well as a new lawsuit seeking enforcement of the original order. At no time during UAF’s investigation did it reach out to Oxebridge or the courts for the official and accurate record.
UAF then repeated a claim that “Oxebridge has a [sic] provision to take donations which can be used by other competitors for its defamation.” TNV had previously and falsely accused Oxebridge of “extortion,” falsely claiming it had demanded money in order to not process the whistleblower complaint. Again, UAF never once asked Oxebridge if the charges were true, and isntead relied solely on an argument that “[TNV] has provided the following evidences [sic] during office assessment in support of their claims.”
UAF admitted that TNV had violated some rules, and taken action to curb actions by unauthorized consultants and competing registrars who use the TNV name. However, UAF did not view these actions as admissions of the violations, and — without explanation — refused to restrict TNV’s accreditation or issue any nonconformities.
UAF then made the extraordinary claim that “quoting a flat rate does not imply a violation of IAF MD 5.” The IAF MD5 document requires certification bodies to estimate audit duration based on the number of employees, sites and other factors, thus precluding the possibility that “flat rate” quotes would be accurate. Oxebridge argues this leads to illegal bait-and-switch practices, allowing a CB to win a contract through “low ball” pricing, which is then increased in order to comply with IAF MD5 after the contract is signed.
UAF owner Dr. Chandi has gone to lengths to hide the actual employees of UAF, using a series of apparently fictitious names and listing unverifiable individuals as staffers. One staffer was identified as his son, who then later said he resigned shortly after being identified. The latest representative to process the UAF complaints signed emails as “Yuliya V. Lalova,” but Oxebridge has also been unable to verify her as a real person.
UAF, like its counterpart the International Accreditation Service (IAS), operates out of a US address, but mainly provides services in India and the Middle East. By utilizing low-paid Indian auditors, it can undercut the pricing of competitors like ANAB and UKAS. IAS is one of the fastest-growing accreditation bodies as a result, while UAF is struggling to gain market share.
Both utilize names that are confusingly similar to the IAF, which oversees the world’s accreditation scheme.
The actions represent the IAF’s increasingly hostile attacks against whistleblowers and Oxebridge, as it repeatedly refuses to uphold accreditation rules, and punish those who file complaints. The IAF, led by Chinese accreditation executive Xiao Jianhua and Canadian consultant Elva Nilsen, refuse to comment on complaints or formally process them at all, instead allowing its Regional Bodies, like APAC, and its member accreditation bodies attack complainants. At the same time, the bodies claim compliance with rules calling for “responsiveness to complaints,” allowing IAF and members to gain access to international contracts while arguing they are a fair and objective arbiter of truth.
The IAF previously upheld a complaint filed by Oxebridge after the registrar NQA-USA threatened a client for simply hiring Oxebridge to help process audit nonconformities. The IAF and IQNet both refused to process a complaint whereby an aerospace auditor was found to have falsified his aerospace experience to AS9100 audit clients.
UAF circulated its email repeating the false claims to members of the IAF, including Yang Zhe of the Chinese National Accreditation Service. This exposes UAF itself to defamation claims by Oxebridge, while revealing the troubling influence China continues to hold over the IAF scheme.