Durban - Former KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Vincent Mdunge, on trial for fraud for having a fake matric certificate, claims he is the victim of a vendetta and “gross tampering” with his academic record.
He also claims he resigned from the police force he served for 27 years without defending himself in an internal inquiry, because it would have been “manslaughter”, because the provincial police commissioner had been instructed to fire him regardless.
“Commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni was given instructions from national head office to dismiss me, otherwise she would not be given another five-year term. She would have done it to safeguard her own interests,” he told Durban Regional Court magistrate Thandeka Fikeni on Monday.
A policeman since the late 1980s, who held the rank of colonel at the time of his arrest and resignation last year, Mdunge has pleaded not guilty to charges that he forged the certificate and presented it to the police force to gain employment and earn R3 million over the years.
A further fraud charge relates to his presenting the certificate to Unisa to enrol for a diploma.
The State alleges the certificate bears the examination number given to Mdunge, who attended school in Hammarsdale, when he wrote his Standard 8 exams.
Official Education Department records show he wrote his matric exams with another examination number two years later and failed. In March the following year, he wrote supplementary exams, but failed those too.
Mdunge, in his evidence on Monday, insisted he had written the exams and passed.
He said a teacher would come to court to testify she remembered personally handing him his matric certificate.
It emerged on Monday the matric certificate had been deemed fraudulent in 2010 after the police requested that it be verified.
This was before his promotion to colonel and appointment as provincial spokesman.
Mdunge himself presented to court the document from Lexus Nexus which recorded that the certificate was not authentic and the font used “not consistent”.
It was suggested by his advocate, Saleem Khan, that the police had done their own investigations after this, clearing Mdunge and allowing him to be promoted.
Prosecutor Barend Groen said it had been the first time investigators had seen the document. He asked Mdunge who had given it to him – to which Mdunge replied it had been the head of human resources in the province.
Mdunge suggested there had also been a letter from Commissioner Ngobeni dated 2006 “indicating my academic qualifications have been verified and found to be legitimate”.
The magistrate refused to allow the evidence, saying “this witness will have to be called”.
The trial continues.