The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has slapped a 74-year-old man with a three-year jail sentence with hard labour for forging an NRC and obtaining over K200,000 by pretending that he had a commercial plot for sale.

In this matter, Peter Manda was charged with theft, obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and uttering a National Registration Card number 120919/17/1, charged which he denied.

During trial before Lusaka magistrate Felix Kaoma, Edgar Malambo, an accountant testified that in 2016, he was looking for a commercial plot with his wife and that he found an advert in the Daily Mail Newspaper of a plot for sale.

He said he called the number and spoke to an agent, a Mr Jere, adding that they met and discussed a plot in Chinika area.

Malambo said the owner of the plot was contacted and he came to know him as Joseph Phiri.

He said they met at a lodge in Avondale at around 17:00 hours and settled for a price of K250,000.

Malambo said after requesting for an NRC and title deed, he verified the documentation with the Ministry of Lands and everything seemed to check out.

He said since the seller had no bank account, he was given the money in cash.

Malambo testified that a contract of sale dated September 22, 2016 was produced and both parties signed.

He said it was later agreed that after seven days, they would change ownership but that never happened because Manda’s phones went off and that numerous attempts were made to reach him but to no avail.

Malambo said after the matter was reported to the police and in October the same year, he was called to identify the accused at the station.

He said he came to know the accused as Peter Manda and not Joseph Phiri as he alleged.

During mitigation, Manda asked the court to consider his age as he admitted that he was a disgrace to himself and his family for forging an NRC.

He said he regretted his actions and prayed that the court exercises leniency as he was at the mercy of it.

Passing sentence, magistrate Kaoma expressed dismay at Manda’s conduct considering that he was an elderly man who was supposed to guide young people.

He added that it was unfortunate that he had to sentence a senior citizen, as he had considered the amount involved.

Magistrate Kaoma sentenced Manda to three years imprisonment each in the rest of the counts, to run concurrently with effect from Tuesday.

“I have also considered prevalence of the crime in Lusaka and it is necessary that deterring sentences are meted out. Not withstanding your age, there is no evidence of theft in count one,” said magistrate Kaoma.