Friday, January 14, 2011

State concedes Mpombo’s sentence was excessive

State concedes Mpombo’s sentence was excessive
By Abigail Chaponda in Ndola
Fri 14 Jan. 2011, 04:00 CAT

THE state yesterday conceded the 60 days custodial sentence imposed on George Mpombo following a fine for a dishonoured cheque was excessive. And Ndola High Court judge Munalula Lisimba adjourned the matter to February 14 this year for judgment.

This is in a case in which Mpombo was charged with an offence of a dishonoured cheque contrary to section 33 (1) of the national payment systems Act as read with the Bank of Zambia Act.

It was alleged that Mpombo, on December 18, 2009 with intent to defraud, issued cheque number 00014 worth K10 million to Colwyn Limited of Ndola on an insufficiently funded account, number 0100260696200 at Standard Chartered Bank, which rendered the cheque dishonoured.

Mpombo was sentenced to 60 days simple imprisonment and fined K4 million by Ndola chief resident magistrate Kelvin Limbani, subsequent to which he appealed to the High Court.

And the state, in its submissions by Nkumbiza Mumba, fully supported the conviction of Mpombo by the lower court.

“We fully supported the conviction by the lower court and partially support the sentence as the same related to the fine that was imposed. But we do concede the 60 days custodial sentence; it was excessive for the court to give a custodial sentence after giving a fine,” Mumba said.

And Mpombo’s lawyer Bonaventure Mutale said he had seven grounds of appeal and submitted that the court should uphold the appeal.

He said the finding of a dishonoured cheque was equally without basis and there was no evidence to show that the offence was prevalent in the country.

“I am not aware of any case of dishonoured cheque that has been reported in this country. This is the first case so far,” he said.

Mutale said Mpombo was a first offender with no aggravating circumstances and a sentencing court should always mete out a fine.

Mutale said the magistrates’ court wrongly relied on some civic authority and failed in its judgment.

Meanwhile, judge Lisimba thanked both parties for their submissions and adjourned the matter to February 14.



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