Former KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Vincent Mdunge - accused of fraud for having a fake matric certificate - says his teacher will come to court and testify that she remembers he passed matric and gave him his certificate about 30 years ago.
“My instructions are that this certificate (which the State alleges is forged) is the one the accused collected from school and signed for, and is a valid certificate,” his advocate, Saleem Khan, said at the start of the trial before Durban regional court magistrate Thandeka Fikeni on Friday.
Mdunge, who held the rank of colonel at the time of his arrest and resignation last year, is facing charges of forgery and fraud relating to presenting the certificate to the police 25 years ago to gain employment and being paid more than R3 million over the years.
The State added a further charge of fraud on Friday, accusing him of also presenting the certificate to Unisa to enrol for a national diploma in police administration.
Mdunge pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Prosecutor Barend Groen called Education Department administration officer Richard Chiliza as the first witness and through him handed in the alleged forged certificate and documents which Chiliza said were official records reflecting Mdunge’s academic record for matric.
The first one, dated November 1985, reflected that Mdunge had failed his senior certificate.
A second one, dated March 1986, reflected that he had failed three supplementary exams he had written.
To this day “and I checked this morning”, Chiliza said, he had not passed matric and was not awarded a certificate.
Referring to the alleged forgery, he said the examination number on it began with “83” and not “85” as it should have if it were for exams written in 1985.
He said he had checked and the “83” number was allocated to Mdunge when he wrote Standard 8 exams and “according to our records he has a Standard 8 (pass)”.
He noted too, that there would have been no need for Mdunge to write supplementary exams in March 1986 if he had passed at the end of 1985.
Under cross-examination, Khan said Mdunge had gone to the Education Department in July last year with a private investigator to get a copy of his matric certificate.
“The official saw something on the computer and said someone had been tampering unlawfully with the records and an official inquiry had to be done.”
Khan put it to Chiliza that his evidence was based on departmental records and if they were incorrect - “and mistakes do happen” - so was his evidence.
Chiliza was adamant that the records could not be wrong.
Khan then presented him with documentation of an unrelated person, reflecting an English pass on his exam result sheet with no mention of this on his certificate.
After asking for time to verify this information, he alleged that the mark had been excluded because there were allegations that the pupil had cheated in the exam.
Khan said Mdunge’s version was that he had written the exams in November 1985 and the matric certificate he received was valid.
Chiliza said: “It is not valid and our system can never be wrong.”
The trial continues this week.