Immigration consultant gets 2 years for forgery

Magistrates Court: File picture

The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has sentenced an Immigration Consultant to two years imprisonment with hard labour for forging a bank statement he wanted to use to acquire an investor’s permit for two Indians.

The Court has further fined him K2,000 in another count, in default, serve three months simple imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the Court has acquitted two Indian investors who were jointly charged with the convict.

This is the matter in which Roy Kunda, 41, an Immigration Consultant; Agarwal Kumar, 41 and Chawla Vineet, 41, both directors, were facing five counts of forgery and giving false information to a public officer.

Particulars of the offence in count one were that on March 28, last year, Kunda made a false written statement to the Immigration Department that Kumar and Vineet had in their accounts held at Finance Bank Zambia and Barclays Bank Zambia US$250,000 financial capital to invest in Zambia, when in fact not.

In the second count, it was alleged that Kumar, on March 26, last year, made a false written statement to the Immigration Department purporting that he had US$250,000 capital in his account held at Barclays Bank which he wanted to invest in Zambia.

In the third count, it was alleged that on March 26, last year, Vineet made a false written statement to the Immigration Department purporting that he had US$250,000 capital in his account held at Barclays Bank which he wanted to invest in Zambia.

In the fourth count, between March 1 and 28 last year, Kunda and Kumar allegedly forged a bank statement number from Barclays Bank Zambia.

And in the fifth count, it was alleged that between March 1 and 28 last year, Kunda and Vineet also forged a bank statement number from Finance Bank.

When the matter came up for judgement, Monday, magistrate Nsunge Chanda said the State had proved the case against Kunda beyond reasonable doubt.

Evidence in this matter was that; Kunda was an Immigration Consultant while the two Indians were directors at Prestine Mining Company.

It was also a fact that the trio had a meeting on how to process an investors’ permit and that Kunda, who was engaged to offer immigration consultancy services, advised the Indians that they needed an investors’ permit for them to start processing manganese in Zambia.

He told the duo that they needed to pay $250,000 each for them to acquire an investors’ permit, but the investors told him that they needed three months to raise the $500,000, which they were going to pay in installments.

Kunda however, told them that he would borrow the money from his other investors to help acquire a permit for them and they could later pay him back the money.

In mitigation, Kunda asked for the court’s leniency as he was the first offender.

He added that he was a breadwinner and a number of people would suffer if the court did not exercise leniency on him.

Passing the sentence, magistrate Chanda said it was clear that an Immigration Consultancy was supposed to help clients with all documents pertaining to an investor’s permit.

She said she had no doubt that the State had proved the case against Kunda, but however acquitted the two Indians saying the State had exonerated them of the offence.

Magistrate Chanda regretted that Kunda’s actions had painted a very bad picture to other investors who would want to come and invest in the country.

She said it was a shame that Kunda who was supposed to follow rules and laid down procedures, aided a crime.

“I have to punish you to deter your friends,” she said.

In the first count one, magistrate Chanda fined Kunda K2,000, in default three months simple imprisonment.

In the fourth and fifth counts, she sentenced Kunda to two years imprisonment with hard labour each, but to run concurrently.

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