LUSAKA Principal Resident Magistrate David Simusamba yesterday convicted and sentenced NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour on charges of forgery and uttering a false document.
He has, however, acquitted him on the other charge of giving false information to a public officer.
And after he was sentenced, Kambili thanked Simusamba, to which the magistrate responded: “thank yourself”.
Meanwhile, MMD leader Nevers Mumba, says he is surprised that Magistrate Simusamba is still handling court course when the Judicial Complaints Commission recommended that he must be removed from the judiciary for misconducting himslelf.
In this matter Kambwili was facing charges of forgery, uttering a false document and giving false information to a public officer in relation to the registration of Mwamona Engineering and Technical Services, following a complaint lodged by Economic and Equity Party leader Chilufya Tayali in 2018.
It was alleged that on October 29, 2013, Kambwili with intent to defraud or deceive, forged a ‘no change return’ (companies form 71) purporting to show that it was genuinely signed by his son Mwamba when in fact not.
It was further alleged that on the same date, Kambwili knowingly and fraudulently uttered the same document to an officer at Patents and Companies’ Registration Agency (PACRA).
Delivering his judgement yesterday, magistrate Simusamba said he found as a fact that Kambwili forged Form 71 (No Change Return Form) which was the subject of the matter by purporting that he was signing on behalf of his son Chishimba Mwamba when in fact he did not sign in a representation form but on his own behalf.
He said that was the reason why Kambwili was called a director of Mwamona Engineering and Technical Services.
Magistrate Simusamba said it was a fact that Kambwili forged the No Change Return form by creating a fictitious name ‘Mwamba Chishimba’ and uttered the same document to PACRA.
He said the NRC number which was used on the registration forms for Mwamona was for Sampa Kambwili and that Kambwili assigned the said NRC to his son in order to comply with registration procedures.
Magistrate Simusamba said he agreed with Tayali and arresting officer Stanley Mumbula, that Mwamba Chishimba was a fictitious person used in the incorporation of the company.
“The circumstances of dropping the Kambwili name by the incorporators of the company was to disguise the name Kambwili and by doing that they created a fictitious person by assigning him an NRC number for Sampa Kambwili. Mwamba Chishimba is a fictitious person in as far as the documentation of Mwamona is concerned,” magistrate Simusamba said.
He found Kambwili guilty of forgery and uttering a false document but acquitted him of giving false information to a public officer.
Earlier, magistrate Simusamba said it became clear that Kambwili never wanted to see the proceedings come to a logical conclusion as the said proceedings were characterised by numerous applications calculated to delay progression of the case.
He added that it was clear that Kambwili never wanted to see the judgement day come to pass.
Magistrate Simusamba said by copy of the judgment, the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) would have an opportunity to see for themselves the conduct of some of its members (advocates).
In mitigation, Kambwili through one of his defence lawyers Musa Mwenye, State Counsel, pleaded for maximum lenience as he was a family man with a huge extended family as per Zambian culture.
Mwenye said Kambwili was a well known diabetic and hypertensive patient.
He added that Kambwili was also the president of a political party who had served the country in various capacities and continues to do so by providing checks and balances.
But passing his sentence, magistrate Simusamba said Kambwili deserved a punitive sentence to serve as a warning to those who thought they could disrespect the court.
He said he had considered that Kambwili was a first offender but added that he had also considered the convict’s conduct during trial, which he said was not honourable.
Magistrate Simusamba said he had tried many high profile people, including Nevers Mumba but that none of them conducted themselves like Kambwili.
He therefore sentenced Kambwili to 12 months with hard labour in the charge of forgery and another 12 months in the charge of uttering a false document, which sentences would run concurrently.
After the sentence was passed, Kambwili looked at magistrate Simusamba and thanked him but the magistrate told him: “thank yourself”.
And as the magistrate was about to rise, Mwenye said the defence wanted to apply for bail, pending appeal but magistrate Simusamba said that was unprecedented as he had just finished reading the judgment.
He set next week, Tuesday for bail hearing.
MMD leader Nevers Mumba, UPND deputy secretary general Getrude Imenda, former Republican President Rupiah Banda\s son Andrew Banda, Kambwili’s relatives and NDC officials led by their secretary general Bridget Akatanga were at court to offer solidarity.
And speaking after the judgement was passed, the MMD leader hoped that there would be no hindrances to Kambwili getting bail, pending appeal.
He added that he was surprised that magistrate Simusamba was still practicing after the Judicial Complaints Commission (JCC) recommendation that the magistrate be removed from the judiciary following complaints against him.
“I had received a letter from the Judicial [Complaints] Commission in which it was recommended that magistrate Simusamba will be retired based on some of the concerns that we raised especially about my case and I am a little bit surprised that he is still practicing. We are going to wait for the lawyers to lodge in their application for bail and we pray that there will be no hindrances to him getting the bail. It is his constitutional right to get his bail and we are waiting. Because when I was arrested and sent to jail, the judge (magistrate) ran away to Ndola and I couldn’t get bail for 12 to 13 days. I hope that he has changed and he is going to give justice to our brother,” Mumba said.
After Kambwili was whisked away to prison in the Kasalanga (prison ferry truck), NDC vice-president Joseph Akafumba said: “this has been a PF persecution to try and put Kambwili where they wanted him to be.”
UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema on a Facebook posting urged Kambwili to remain strong.
“Our thoughts are with our brother, Chishimba Kambwili. Remain strong as this is a passing phase. We encourage our citizens to be fully supportive of each other. There will be lots of turbulence phases during this period of reclaiming our freedoms,” he said.
Meanwhile, DPP leader Harry Kalaba said Kambwili’s conviction marked yet another sad development for the country.
“These are the constant battles we keep fighting in our country but eventually it shall be well,” he said in a Facebook posting.