Fake “Child Psychologist” Jailed
29 July 2023
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 By A Correspondent- A man who used false documents to secure employment as a child psychologist and “live a fake life” has been jailed for four years.

Nikiwe Dube (41) with an address at Colpe Drive, Deepforde, Drogheda, Co Louth pleaded guilty to four charges of using a false instrument on dates between November 2019 and February 2022 including a psychological transcript with a false garda stamp, a false identification badge purportedly from the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) and a fake medical certificate.

He further pleaded guilty to two counts of deception in that he dishonestly induced TTM Healthcare to put him on their books of employment, causing a loss, on a date between August 15th, 2021 and September 9th, 2021 and that he did dishonestly induce the HSE to give him an interview towards employment on August 18th, 2022.

Dube used false documents to secure employment as a child psychologist in the public and private healthcare sectors when he didn’t have the required academic qualifications, the court heard.

Imposing sentence on Wednesday, Judge Elva Duffy said Dube had put himself “out there” as a medically-trained professional and was working with children and adolescents who were clearly in a very vulnerable position because they had come looking for help.

‘A Complex fraud’

She said Dube knew what he was doing and described it as “a complex fraud”. She said he had chosen to “live a fake life” where he abused trust and received significant money for his work.

Judge Duffy said Dube carried out this fraud “without an apparent purpose” and “set himself out to be someone he was not”.

She also noted that the State confirmed that the gardaí have not been able to confirm Dube’s true identity and said “that is of some concern to the court”.

Judge Duffy acknowledged that Dube made immediate admissions, has expressed remorse and that his plea of guilty was valuable as it would have been a difficult case to prove. She further acknowledged a positive probation report and governor’s report and the fact that Dube is a diabetic.

She said the case warranted a headline sentence of five and half years before she imposed a sentence of four years, having taken the mitigation into account. The sentence was backdated to when Dube first went into custody on August 5th, 2022.

The court heard that in February 2022, Dube was put forward for a senior post as a child psychologist with an annual salary of €80,000 by recruitment agency, TTM Healthcare.


This application was reviewed by the head of psychology at Avista Medical, who had some concerns that the submitted documents, including a letter of validation, did not conform with the standard content and format.

This person brought his concerns to the attention of the human resources department.

Separately on March 15th, 2022, an assistant principal officer in the Department of Health’s professional regulation unit, which is responsible for the validation of foreign psychology qualifications, told gardaí they had been contacted by Avista in relation to the letter of validation included in Dube’s application.

The Department of Health staff member said the unit had checked their archives and had no record of Dube.

As such, the letter of validation was not issued by the Department of Health. Further enquiries determined the letter of validation to be false.

Gardaí then contacted the recruitment agency TTM Healthcare, who provided them with documents including a letter of validation, a GNIB card, transcripts from the University of Zimbabwe and a Zimbabwean police clearance certificate.

The court also heard Dube was employed by Gateway Residential Care in Sligo between November 2019 and November 2021 as a child psychologist. He received €172,000 in wages and expenses during this period.

Gateway Residential Care provided gardaí in March 2022 with documents including a letter of good standing from the PSI and documentation from the University of Zimbabwe including a qualification in psychology.

Gardaí also spoke with a recruitment consultant working for TTM Healthcare who said Dube contacted them in August 2021 about a vacancy for a HSE clinical post. Dube was screened, and it was confirmed that he met the requirements of the post.

Dube provided documents to TTM Healthcare including a Master of Science in clinical psychology transcript, a diploma in cognitive behavioural therapy, his GNIB card and a letter of validation. Garda vetting forms for TTM Healthcare and the HSE were also completed.

Dube was approved for a locum post in November 2021, however TTM paid his wages of €11,628 during this period due to outstanding garda vetting.

The investigating garda confirmed that much of Dube’s work was carried out remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic and he had limited interaction with patients, both supervised and unsupervised.

Dube also had an identification badge purportedly from the PSI, however the society does not issue badges. The PSI contacted the University of Zimbabwe, whose staff confirmed that Dube had not studied there.

In May 2022, a garda at the Navan Garda Immigration Office confirmed that a stamp on a transcript did not originate from that office.

Gardaí arrested Dube in August 2022 in Drogheda. After caution, he told gardaí that he had been expecting this, but not at that moment.

He told them that he had paid over €4,300 online for a pack of documents and that he knew he should not have done it.

Dube made no comment when interviewed. He has no previous convictions and has been in custody since August 5, 2022.

The investigating garda agreed with Gerardine Small SC, defending, that her client made admissions when first approached by gardaí. He also confirmed that Dube had been in custody since his arrest and that his guilty plea avoided what would have been a complex trial.

No victim impact statements were provided to the court.

Ms Small asked the court to take into consideration her client’s early guilty plea, immediate admissions and expressions of remorse. She said her client had educational attainment in this area.

Dube was born in Zimbabwe and worked as a LGBT counsellor for six years, the court heard. He had to flee the country due to concerns for his safety and applied for international protection in 2018.

A governor’s report and an education report were handed to the court. Dube is an enhanced prisoner and works in the prison laundry. He also volunteers as a listener with the Samaritans.

A letter of apology was also handed to the court. Dube is diabetic and has issues with cholesterol for which he takes medication.

Ms Small said Dube is aware of the “serious breach of trust” and the seriousness of the offence. She noted that he accepts that he sought refuge in a country and his “behaviour towards that country is wholly unacceptable”.