CHARLES MUSONDA Writes
LABOUR minister Joyce Nonde Simukoko’s secretary has been found with a case to answer for forgery and theft of K15, 000 from her.
Lusaka Magistrate Felix Kaoma yesterday found Nyembezi Masiye, 47, of Chilenje Township in Lusaka with a case to answer on three counts of forgery, uttering false documents, and theft.
In the first count particulars of offence are that on August 26, 2019, Masiye, with intent to deceive or defraud, forged a cheque number 000354 purporting to show that Ms. Simukoko had paid her K15, 000 when in fact not.
In the second count particulars of offence are that on October 10, 2019, Masiye uttered the forged cheque to a teller at Indo Zambia Bank (IZB).
In the third count particulars of offence are that on the same date, Masiye stole K15, 000 belonging to Ms. Simukoko.
After the State closed its case yesterday, Mr. Kaoma found that there was sufficient evidence establishing a prima facie and found Masiye with a case to answer.
While Mr. Kaoma was asking Masiye when she would be ready for her defence, he noticed that she was gesturing to a man who was taking notes in the gallery.
He then asked the accused person who the man was and she said he is her brother-in-law but the court warned Masiye that it is dangerous for her to get legal advice from an unqualified person as she would end up being misled.
Mr. Kaoma asked the man to identify himself and he said he is a fourth year law student at the University of Zambia.
He warned the man that what he was doing was contemptuous and that he risked being locked up because only journalists are allowed to take notes in court.
He said only someone who has passed examinations at the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education is recognized as a qualified lawyer and that Masiye’s action of getting legal advice from an unqualified person was like asking a grade 11 pupil to help her pass grade 12 examinations. The case comes up on January 20, 2021 for defence.
During trial, Ms. Simukoko testified that on August 26, 2019, Masiye was a sitting-in secretary when she left a partially filled cheque as she was rushing for a meeting.
She said she partly filled in a cheque in the sum of K5, 000 that she wanted to donate to Catholic sisters at Kabangwe Orphanage as part of her charity work.
She said she knew that the sisters would pick it from her office and instructed Masiye to fill in the orphanage’s name.
The minister said after two months she did not receive feedback from the orphanage to confirm if the sisters had received the K5, 000 as they normally acknowledged receiving the money. Ms. Simukoko said after one week she received an SMS from IZB indicating a K15, 000 debit from her account.
She said when she went to the bank the next day she was shown a cheque paid to Masiye amounting to K15,000.