A 49-year-old businessman of Lusaka’s Kamwala area identified as Daniel Kapakala has appeared in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court for fraudulently altering his age on the NRC to 50 years to qualify for getting his benefits ahead of time.
However, Magistrate Nsunge Chanda has ordered that the accused be remanded in custody, and has further enhanced his bail conditions to K10,000 in own recognize with two working sureties in the like sum, after he informed the court that he had actually received the said benefits when a chief security officer at National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) had told the court otherwise.
In this matter, Kapakala is charged with one count of uttering false documents and had pleaded not guilty.
It is alleged that Kapakala on July, 2018, in Lusaka, knowingly and fraudulently, did alter a document namely a claim form for Zambia National Provident Fund and a certified copy of his NRC.
When the matter came up before Magistrate Chanda for trial, Tuesday, a chief security officer at NAPSA Augustine Chishimba, 43, testified that between October, 2017, and January this year, the authority received a number of names of people claiming their benefits, and it was discovered that most of them had altered their age to qualify for them.
“Between October, 2017, and January, 2018, the authority received a number of names by people who were claiming their benefits, which we discovered were fraudulent as most were altering their age to qualify them to get their benefits. I started to obtain all the NRCs for people who were not qualified to get their benefits. The qualification age is 50 for those claiming benefits,” Chishimba narrated.
He said that in June this year, he visited NAPSA’s Society House office where he discovered two NRCs, which had been altered, one belonging to the accused and the other one to a Mr Henry.
“In respect of the case today, on June 25, 2018, I went to Society House office where I instructed the people who were working on the front desks to give me NRCs for those who came to claim, but were under-age. On that particular day, two copies of NRC were retrieved, one for the accused who was 49 years, and the other one for a Mr Henry who was 48 years,” he added.
Chishimba testified that after collecting the NRCs, he told the customer management services to inform him whenever these two names brought their claims.
He further testified that in July, he received information that Kapakala had taken his claims and, when he perused through the claim forms, he discovered that Kapakala had altered his age from 49 to 50 years.
“On July 17, 2018, whilst at Levy Business Park where the Head Office for NAPSA is located, I received information from customer service that one of the names, Daniel, had filed their claims. When I collected the claim file and perused through and compared the NRC I had obtained earlier in June with the latest one, to my amazement, on the claim forms the accused had indicated that he was 50 years, and on the NRC I noticed that there was an alteration on the date of birth,” Chishimba disclosed.
He further testified that when Kapakala was interviewed, he admitted that his real age was 49 and that it was his friend who helped him claim.
He said the matter was then reported to Central Police, adding that altering documents was a big problem to the institution.
However, when Kapakala was told by the court to ask the witness questions, he asked Chishimba whether NAPSA had paid him his benefits.
And when Chishimba replied that they had stopped the process before the claims were paid to him, the accused laughed and produced his phone, saying he wanted to show the court something.
He then read out a message from his phone saying his claim had been paid by NAPSA and he should check his bank account.
At this point, Magistrate Chanda informed Kapakala that his revelation had actually worsened his case because he was admitting that he got the money before it was due to him.
She informed him that another charge would be added to his already existing one.
“…Which makes the case worse that you have received the money. Meaning the charge which is there, they will include another charge that you have received the money yet you are not 50 years,” Magistrate Chanda said.
In his defence, Kapakala asked for forgiveness, saying he thought that NAPSA had sat and agreed on his payment.
Magistrate Chanda, however, informed Kapakala, who was on police bond, that he would not go home because he would now be remanded in custody.
She said Kapakala could have informed NAPSA when he received the money.
“NAPSA has to know that you received the money, this one you are not going home. I need your sureties here because you already received the money because you could have gone to NAPSA when you received the money. [I’m sure] you are even regretting to show the court the message,” she said.
Magistrate Chanda further enhanced Kapakala’s bail conditions to K10,000 in own recognize with two working sureties in the like sum.
The matter has been adjourned to October 23 for continuation of trial.