How was ‘fraudulent’ senior cop appointed?

2014-09-08 08:53

The City of Tshwane has been called on to explain how a senior metro police officer was appointed, allegedly using fraudulent qualifications.

“We have a meeting with the city manager, Jason Ngobeni, regarding the appointment,” South African Municipal Workers Union Tshwane regional chairperson Nkhetheni Muthavhi said yesterday.

“We want to know why they did not verify her documents before appointing her to such a high position.”

The officer, Johanna “Trish” Armstrong, is being investigated by Tshwane metro police for fraud.

Armstrong could not be reached for comment.

On Thursday, Tshwane metro police said Armstrong had been issued with a letter of intention to suspend her. At the time, Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said she had 48 hours to motivate why she should not be suspended.

He did not rule out criminal charges being laid against her.

“It will depend on our investigation. We are working closely with the South African Police Service and the Hawks. As and when we feel they should come on board they will be contacted.”

He said the city was investigating Armstrong, the director of research and resource development, for allegedly forging documents to obtain her position, which she has held since May 2013.

Yesterday, Mahamba said an internal investigation was still ongoing and he did not want to pre-empt the outcome of the disciplinary hearings.

The deadline for Armstrong to respond to the letter is today.

“After today we will announce our way forward. We are willing to give her time until then to respond before we decide on what action to take,” he said.

Mahamba added that she was still a metro police employee and would have to report for duty daily until the matter was finalised.

“She is expected to perform her duties until such a time,” he said.

Armstrong (48) was appointed director of research and resource development at the city in May last year. Her annual salary package was R704 650.

According to her job description, she is responsible for managing and overseeing research and development, bylaw coordination and management, firearm management, employee wellness services, and civilian and internal affairs.

She is accused of forging her traffic diploma and police training certificate, apparently a prerequisite to become a metro police officer.

The certificate is awarded to members trained in management and leadership, the regulatory framework for metropolitan police, the Road Traffic Act, traffic policing, crime prevention, administrative procedures, health, fitness and street survival.

Muthavhi said among the issues to be discussed with Ngobeni would be the panel involved in her interview and subsequent appointment.

“We need to know who interviewed her and why they took documents that had not been certified,” Muthavhi said.

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