A witness in a case involving newly appointed Minister for North-western Province, Steven Masumba, has told a Lusaka magistrates’ court that the institutes erroneously awarded Mr Masumba a Diploma in Accounting Technician course.
National Institute of Public Relations (NIPA) Deputy Registrar, Academic Affairs, Musonda Chimya, said although he has not dealt with the matter to find out how the diploma was issued, Mr Masumba was not eligible to graduate as his examination results transcript indicated that he had arrears.
Mr Chimya, who testified before Lusaka Magistrate, Wilfred Muma, said Mr Masumba was served with a transcript where the subjects he sat for were indicated showing how many marks he obtained and the total marks.
He further said at the bottom of the transcript there was a comment which stated that Mr Masumba had arrears and not eligible to graduate.
Mr Chimya who could however not explain how Mr. Masumbas’ name was found on a list of students scheduled to graduate said he only came to know of the case when officers from the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC)went to his office to enquire about the matter.
In cross examination, Anti Corruption Commission prosecutor, Etambuyu Mwenda Zimba, asked if Mr Chimya was aware that the institute had not withdrawn the diploma from Mr Masumba, and whether it was still a valid document or not.
Mr Chimya told the court that he was not aware, adding that there are no records showing that the document was withdrawn but that since he was not there when Mr Masumba graduated, it could also be possible that he once attended the institutes examination centre.
However, defence Lawyer, Mutakela Lisimba, asked Mr Chimya whether Mr Masumba was served with any transcript, and whether the document he was referring to was not addressed to Mr Masumba or not or stated “To whom it may concern”.
However, Magistrate Muma intercepted and warned the defence counsel to be practical in his questions, adding that Mr Masumba must have know that it was addressed to him if he received it.
Mr Lisimba further questioned Chimya if he was aware that his client had used the document in question to get a job.
In response Mr Chimya told the court that he only started working for the institute in 2009, adding that he could not have known that Mr Masumba was a former student who had been using a forged document if the matter was not unearthed by the Anti Corruption Commission.
Mr Chimya further told the court that it was wrong for Mr Masumba to use the document in question to obtain a job, adding that he was very much aware that he was not qualified.
Meanwhile Magistrate Muma has strongly warned the Anti Corruption Commission prosecution to put their house in order and never to come in court empty or unprepared for any case.
Magistrate Muma warned Ms Zimba after she failed to furnish the court with the number of witnesses the commission was ready to bring in the matter involving Mr Masumba.
“You must have inquired when you took over the case not coming here empty. Look, you do not seem to know anything about witnesses; then how are you going to set dates” said magistrate Muma.
He said the public for a long time has been complaining of prolonged trials and left to wonder about justice and operations of the judiciary when it was doing everything possible to change the wrong perception.
He added that it was delays such as the one portrayed by officers from Anti Corruption Commission that lead to delays in trails.
“I adjourn the matter with bitterness to December 12, 2012. Make sure to bring all your witnesses on this date,” said Magistrate Muma.