LUSAKA Magistrate Felix Kaoma has found a 47-year-old secretary with a case to answer in a matter she is accused of forging a cheque and stealing money from Minister of Labour and Social Security Joyce Simukoko.
Nyembezi Masiye will open her defence on January 20, this year.
In this matter, Masiye is facing three counts of forgery, uttering false documents and theft before the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court.
It is alleged that on August 26, 2019, Masiye, with intent to defraud and deceive, forged cheque number 000354 purporting to show that the signatory had paid her K15,000 when in fact it was false.
In count two, it is alleged that on October 10, 2019, Masiye uttered the false cheque number 000354 to Indo Zambia Bank.
In count three, it is alleged that on the same date, Masiye stole K10,000 belonging to Minister of Labour and Social Security Joyce Simukoko.
Masiye however, pleaded not guilty and State witnesses testified in the matter.
And when the matter came up, Wednesday, Magistrate Kaoma said after considering the evidence adduced in court, a prima facie case had been established against the accused.
He found the accused person with a case to answer and placed her on her defence.
Masiye will open her defence on January 20, this year.
Earlier, the arresting officer in the matter Robam Mwamba, told the court that while working at Woodlands Police Station on January 23, 2019, he was assigned to investigate a case of forgery and theft in which Simukoko was a complainant.
Mwamba, a detective inspector, testified that Simukoko complained that Masiye stole her K15,000 by depositing a cheque meant for an orphanage into her (Masiye’s) account.
“Ms Simukoko said she had initially given Masiye a cheque with the amount K5,000 in figures and asked her to complete it for her because she was in a hurry. Masiye wrote K15, 000 in words when completing the cheque and deposited it into her account but the transaction was later reversed,” he said.
The arresting officer said when he interviewed Masiye in connection with the charges, she never gave a satisfactory answer.
He said he then decided to charge her with the offences of forgery, theft and uttering a false document.
Last year, Simukoko testified that on August 26, 2019, she was rushing out for a meeting but before leaving the office, she partly filled in a cheque in the sum of K5,000 which was to be donated to Catholic sisters at Kabangwe, as part of charity work.
She said she instructed Masiye who during this period was a sitting-in secretary, to fill in the name of the orphanage as the sisters would pick it.
Simukoko however, said she never got any feedback from the orphanage if they received the K5,000 or not.
“I filled in the amount in figure K5,000 on the cheque, the date and my signature but I could not finish. I was in a hurry and I knew the sisters would come to pick it. So I instructed Ms Masiye to fill in the name of the orphanage but two months later, I never got any feedback from the orphanage if they received the K5,000 or not. I was wondering why I did not get feedback from the sisters as they would normally acknowledge receipt of the money,” she said.
Simukoko said a week later, she received an SMS from Indo Zambia Bank that there had been a K15,000 debt account.
She said when she went to the bank the next day, she was shown a cheque paid to Masiye in the sum of K15,000.
Simukoko explained that the cheque which was supposed to be given to the orphanage was in the sum of K5,000 but she discovered that the amount on the cheque had a one fused in to make it K15,000.
She added that the K15,000 amount written in words on the cheque had Masiye’s handwriting.
Simukoko said she knew Masiye’s handwriting as she worked with her for about three months in her office while she was waiting for a secretary to be sent to her office.