Therapist working in Dublin ‘forged’ professional qualifications, court told

Nikiwe Dube (39) appeared at Dublin District Court on Friday

A therapist faces trial accused of using “forged” university degrees and professional qualifications to work as a clinical psychologist helping vulnerable children and adults in Dublin.

Zimbabwe-born Nikiwe Dube (39) with an address at Colpe Drive, Drogheda, Co Louth, appeared at Dublin District Court on Friday.

He is accused of forgery by making false instruments to obtain employment between 2019 and 2022.

Garda Alan Cawley objected to bail, citing “flight risk” concerns. The offences are contrary to section 25 of the Theft and Fraud Act and can carry a maximum 10-year sentence.

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He told Judge Cephas Power that Mr Dube had worked with “vulnerable children and adults” but his educational documents used to apply for the post “proved to be fraudulent”.

Gardaí searched his home and allegedly recovered forged papers and a Garda stamp.

Garda Cawley said the accused had no family ties to Ireland.

During the contested bail hearing, the judge was told the accused claimed to have degrees from the University of Zimbabwe, but he never attended the university.

In cross-examination, defence solicitor Conor McGreevy put it to the garda that it was a “complex investigation” and that the Director of Public Prosecutions had to issue directions.

The officer replied that further charges could be brought.

Pleading for bail, the solicitor told the court his client had come to Ireland in 2018 as a refugee fleeing persecution.

Stressing that there was no suggestion he forged his identity or used an alias, the solicitor submitted that the court could impose bail terms.

As a result of coming under the international protection process and being granted asylum, he had been given a travel document by the Department of Justice but he could not return to Zimbabwe.

Mr McGreevy told the court his client had no prior convictions, had lived and worked in Ireland and was currently on social welfare. He also had health problems.

The solicitor argued that there was no evidence his client was a flight risk and refusing bail would be disproportionate.

Ruling on the application, the judge described the allegations as serious and noted they allegedly involved forged degrees from the University of Zimbabwe and membership of an Irish psychological body.

He held the investigating officer had established a flight risk objection. However, he noted that the presumed innocent accused had been in the State for four years.

In those circumstances, he held that he could grant bail with conditions. However, he set it in Mr Dube’s bond of €20,000, of which he must lodge €10,000, and a €5,000 independent surety has to be approved before he can be released.

Once the terms are met, he must reside at his current address, notify gardaí of any change and sign on twice daily at his local Garda station.

Mr Dube was held in custody on these terms and remanded to appear at Cloverhill District Court on Thursday. He has not yet indicated how he will plead.

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