Monday, February 10, 2014

Being detained is okay - Masumba
By Joseph Mwenda and Francis Lungu
Tue 19 Nov. 2013, 14:00 CAT

CONVICTED sports deputy minister Stephen Masumba says being found guilty and the subsequent detention is okay. In an interview after the conviction yesterday, Masumba, who was taken to Kamwala Remand Prison awaiting sentencing tomorrow, said he had communicated to State House about the conviction which was shocking.

"I have communicated to the Permanent Secretary at State House and I asked him to inform the President. I also want to thank all the people who supported me during my trial and assure them that this is not the end of the case, I will appeal to the High Court," said Masumba. "It is good that I am going through this. It makes sense for me. Having been found guilty and being detained is okay."

He said he was shocked that the Lusaka Magistrates' Court has found him guilty of forging his college diploma despite the proof he tendered during trial.

Masumba said he had no words to describe the shock he was experiencing.

"I am very shocked that this matter turned out like this. To me, it was a clear case which I felt could not have ended this way. I mean, if there was any irregularity with the issuance of the diploma at the college (National Institute of Public Administration), that should not have been my fault," he said.

Masumba said he provided the necessary proof during trial and expected judgment in his favour.

"I sat for that examination and passed, but the court dismissed some of the evidence provided by my witnesses," he said.

Masumba who looked resolute after the conviction, however said he respected the magistrate's decision.

"Whatever I say will not change anything at this stage. I have been found guilty and I respect the judgment. Of course, no one expected that outcome but the way the magistrate analysed the issue and the way you and me look at it may not be the same," he said.

Masumba said he had communicated to President Michael Sata of his conviction through State House permanent secretary Kaizar Zulu.

Masumba was convicted by the Lusaka Magistrates' Court after being found guilty of obtaining employment at the Lusaka Business and Technical College as an accounting officer using an accounting diploma erroneously awarded to him at NIPA.

He was charged with one count of obtaining pecuniary advantage by false pretences contrary to the Laws of Zambia.

It is alleged that Masumba obtained employment for himself from Lusaka Business and Technical College as an accounting officer using the erroneously awarded diploma.

But Masumba had denied having committed the offence and produced the same diploma in question and photos of his graduation ceremony in court as part of his evidence.

In passing judgment, principal resident magistrate Wilfred Muma said he did not find any truth in the evidence Masumba had adduced before court.

He said the State had proved the case beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused had fraudulently obtained the qualification from NIPA.
Magistrate Muma said according to the evidence adduced by different witnesses, including Winner Kanyembo, registrar at NIPA, it was clear that Masumba should not have graduated because he did not pass in Basic Accounting level one course.

He said going by the evidence on record, students could be awarded with certification wrongly but that in accordance with the ethical orientation students undergo at NIPA, Masumba could have reported that he did not deserve to be awarded the diploma.

Magistrate Muma said by mistake or by fraud, Masumba was shortlisted by NIPA examination unit and eventually graduated.

"I cannot see any reason why not to believe that Masumba did not know he had failed in Basic Accounting level one. I shall safely state that Masumba knew he did not pass…he did not report the mistake. Masumba fraudulently graduated," he said.

Magistrate Muma said he found Masumba guilty as charged and convicted him accordingly.

At this point, magistrate Muma allowed Masumba's lawyer, Ndayi Sameta from Mambwe Siwila and Lisimba Advocates, to mitigate on his behalf but the lawyer could not put up a convincing mitigation.

Magistrate Muma adjourned the matter to tomorrow for further mitigation and sentencing and Masumba was detained following his conviction.

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