By PERPETUAL SICHIKWENKWE –
THE State has urged the Lusaka High Court to uphold former deputy sports minister Steven Masumba’s conviction and sentence by the magistrate court.
The National Prosecution Authority stated that the Lusaka Magistrate court was on firm ground when it convicted Mr Masumba of the offence of obtaining pecuniary advantage by false pretences when he forged his accounting technician diploma.
This is in a matter in which Mr Masumba has appealed against his conviction and sentence of 12 months imprisonment after he was found guilty of forging the diploma from the National Institute of Publi Administration (NIPA).
But the State said in its argument filed in the Criminal registry that Mr Masumba’s conviction and 12 months sentence should not come with a sense of shock as being too high considering that the maximum sentence for the offence is five years.
The State said that there was nothing to show that the findings of the subordinate court were erroneous and that Mr Masumba ought to have known that he did not pass the basic accounting course and that he absconded the Audit and Taxation examination.
The State added that the evidence of a former NIPA worker Clive Kawana which supported Mr Masumba ‘s credibility was questionable and it was on record that Mr Kawana was separated from NIPA for being dishonest with regard to falsifying results.
It further submitted that Mr Kawana confirmed to the court that he was just signing on the statement of results without verifying.
The State said that the results as per document Mr Masumba claimed to have retrieved from Mwinilunga did not arise during the cross examination of the prosecution witnesses as such it was an aftermath.
“The appellant knew or should have been privy to the manipulation of results he intended to rely on,” it submitted.
The State further submitted that the trial court was also on firm ground when it chose not to believe Mr Masumba’s testimony regarding his results as such, his conviction and sentence should be upheld.
Mr Masumba has appealed against both his conviction and sentence saying the trial court erred in fact and law when it found him guilty of the offence.