National Institute of Public Relations Executive Director Answel Saka today admitted that the institution mistakenly awarded newly appointed Minister for North Western Stephen Masumba a certificate in Accounting Technician course.
Mr Saka told court this morning when he appeared before Lusaka Magistrate Wifred Muma that it was unfortunate that Mr Masumba was awarded a certificate which he did not deserve.
The Executive Director told court that he only came to know of the case early this week when the Anti Corruption Commission visited his office and informed him that he needed to appear in court.
“Your Honour Mr Masumba graduated within a year in which I joined the institution, but what I know is that the examination board of the institute is responsible for knowing which students have failed the exams and those that have passed,”said Mr Saka.
Mr Saka told court that despite Mr Masumba having a certificate it could still be disputed for as long as he does not bring a transcript which he received indicating his results as that will confirm his qualification.
Mr Saka who could however not surely attest to the letter which he allegedly said emanated from his office to request Mr Masumba to report to his office and bring forth a transcript of results told court that he was not aware that the investigations had been going on for a long time and that the officers from ACC had been to his school on different occasions.
When asked by the defence lawyer if he was in opposition to know who the author of the document could be, Mr Saka told court that he wouldn’t know very well but that it could have been pulled from the students file adding that the institute keeps record of all its students.
Mr Saka told court that early this year he received a call from Mr Masumba who was by then Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing asking to meet with him.
Later in the day Mr Masumba went to Mr Sakas’office and informed him that he was being pursued by the ACC for allegedly having a false certificate.
He further told court that the following day Mr Masumba sent a copy of his photo when he graduated showing him greeting the then Vice President Nevers Mumba and copies of his certificate leaving out a transcript of results.
Mr Saka told court that he then called the Registrar to inform him about the news he had received and later asked him to investigate the matter.
However NIPA Registrar Winner Kanyembo told court that he came to know of the matter in 2008 when he was first visited by the Anti Corruption Commission.
Mr Kanyembo told court that since then he made several attempted to communicate to Mr Masumba but Mr Masumba never responded.
Mr Kanyembo presented to court a copy of a letter he had written in 2008 requesting Mr Masumba to take with him a transcript of his results to the Registrar.
He told court that part of the ethics that students are told are honesty, truthfulness and integrity but that Mr Masumba ignored them by graduating when he knew he was not qualified.
He said according to NIPA Act Number 15 of 1998 section 15 (3) it allows the institution to deprive any student of a certificate if it is found that they have obtained results or certificate through fraud acts.
Mr Kanyembo said the institute by the act have got the right to withdraw the certificate if Mr Masumba does not produce a transcript of results.
Meanwhile the Minister for North Western Stephen Masumba received counselling from Magistrate Muma who was not happy with the manner the minister dressed.
Magistrate Muma advised the minister to come to court formally dressed.
Mr Masumba who appeared in court dressed in Jeans trousers, a pair of snickers and a jumper was told to dress in resemblance with the office he occupies.