A woman who lied and cheated into a high-level civil service job in Croydon was jailed for 12 months and agreed to repay the money she received.
Please don’t get too excited – this is not a case involving Jo Negrini, the self-proclaimed “regeneration practitioner” who has been cleared to work as CEO of the board for four years.
It also doesn’t implicate Heather Cheesbrough, who remains the board’s planning director despite posting fake credentials on her digital resume.
This is the case with Chanelle Poku, who claimed to have a Masters in Molecular Biology and experience leading a charity in order to land a leadership position in the NHS Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group, and has been convicted by a jury of fraud by false representation.
The case is yet another demonstration of the weakness, if not non-existence, of due diligence and qualification checks in parts of the civil service.
Poku was tasked with providing emergency care to patients in the district. When challenged for her incompetent performance, she resorted to a series of false accusations of intimidation, assault and racism, even going so far as to take her case to an employment tribunal.
The Tribunal rejected his claims.
In its judgment, which was handed down in early 2019, the Tribunal declared that Poku was “totally lacking in credibility”.
They said, “So this is one of those rare occasions when we are prepared to find out, not only that the claims are not proven, but also that they are false.
Recorder David Osborne, presiding over the Poku criminal case at Croydon Crown Court, said: ‘Your offense has left a totally unqualified person in charge of an important role in the local NHS infrastructure. This offense is so serious that immediate detention is justified.
In fact, Poku’s previous job was as an unskilled “chugger,” a high street charity fundraiser, working for Action Aid.
Claiming to have a masters degree from ‘Imperial University’ and claiming that she had been Director of Action Aid for four years, she applied to commission and run the program for an emergency care job in Croydon NHS CCG. She backed up her candidacy with bogus references that she had either written herself or arranged for others to write.
In a masterful understatement for the judge, he said it was “somewhat surprising” that Poku survived an interview.
During his trial, Poku tried to blame a recruitment agency for the lies on his application form.
Poku, who has been in custody since the July verdict, offered to reimburse the CCG for her salary, which stood at around £ 13,000 before she was scolded and suspended.
An interesting precedent, many might think. Before asking if similar charges could be brought against others who seem to have managed to make a living …
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