Court reprimands `masked’ fake accused person

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Lusaka Magistrate Court. Picture by Rebecca Banda

RABECCA BANDA writes

A LUSAKA woman has been reprimanded for pretending to be an accused person at the Magistrates Court by `sitting in’ for her absent sister, the real accused person.

This was in a matter before magistrate Nsunge Chanda where Beauty Mwanza and Lenny Musonda are accused of obtaining pecuniary advantage.

When the matter come up for trial yesterday, both accused persons appeared to be present when in fact one of them was not an accused person, but someone sitting in for her sister.

This came to light when the public prosecutor asked the complainant . Monde Mulala to identify the accused persons.

She identified Mwanza but could not recognize the second accused even after removing her mask.

To the surprise of the court, the woman then revealed that she was sitting in for her sister Musonda because she was unwell.

Magistrate Chanda said it has never happened that another person sits for trial on behalf of an accused.

“I will lock you up for pretending to be an accused. If the accused person is absent you were supposed to say. What if I decided that you won’t go home, what would you have done?” she askedd.

Magistrate Chanda told the woman that only accused persons sit in the accused dock.

Magistrate Chanda said she does not blame her because the lawyer Mr. Patrick Chulu is aware of procedure and should have guided.

Ms. Monde Mulala 28 of Chelstone said between March and February 2019, a colleague Hazel Musoni approached her and asked her if she was interested in joining a village banking group called Excel Banking.

She said she wasn’t familiar with it but Ms. Musoni explained to her how it works.

She said she paid a K100 registration for membership and that her contribution will increase by 20 percent per month.

She said she saved K7,500 and was told that she was going to receive K13,459.

She said she was sending her monthly payment to Musonda through her Airtel money account.

She said she did not receive any money and that Musonda and Mwanza kept promising to pay but never did.

She said Mwanza told her that she was willing to pay half the count owed to her if she withdrew the matter.

The court could not continue with trial as Musonda was absent.

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