The Kapiri-Mposhi Magistrate Court has sentenced two men to three years imprisonment with hard labour for impersonating public officers and uttering false documents.
Martin Ajusa, 38, of Zingalume compound in Lusaka and Lameck Kunda, 37, of Patson Area in Kalulushi were jointly charged with 14 counts ranging from impersonating public officers, obtaining money by false presences, extortion and uttering false documents contrary to the laws of Zambia.
The duo have jointly been sentenced to three years imprisonment with hard labour to run concurrently on each of the 14 counts.
The duo were arrested by Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) following a tip-off from members of the public on January 4, 2020 while posing as enforcement officers from the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) and going round drug stores in Kapiri Mposhi district asking for license fee payment from drug store operators.
Upon being arrested the duo were found with identity cards for ZAMRA, DEC, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), Energy Regulation Board (ERB), Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ) and the Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) which they used to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
In count one, Ajusa and Kunda were charged with an offence of impersonating a public officer contrary to Section 102 (b) of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence were that while in Kapiri Mposhi on December 10, 2019 the duo while acting together with others unknown falsely represented themselves to be persons employed in the public service in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC).
In count two, Ajusa and Kunda were charged with an offence of attempting to extort by threats contrary to Section 297 (1) of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence were that on the December 31, 2019 the accused while in Kapiri Mposhi district jointly and whilst acting together with others unknown with intent to extort did obtain money from Davis Simpanzye, a drug store operator, after they accused and threatened him of selling medical drugs without a license.
In count three, the accused were charged with an offence of obtaining money by false presences contrary to section 309 of the penal code chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.
In this count the duo on January 2, 2019 did obtain a K100 cash from Catherine Bupe by falsely pretending that they were Council revenue collectors when in fact not.
And in counts four, five, six, seven and eight Ajusa and Kunda were facing separate charges of forgery contrary to section 347 of the penal code chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.
Particulars of these offences were that on unknown dates but between December 10, 2019 and January 2, 2020, Ajusa and Kunda with intent to defraud did forge Identity Cards for ZAMRA, ZRA, ERB, CCPC and HPCZ purporting to show that the identity cards were genuine when in fact not.
The duo were facing six more separate charges of uttering false documents contrary to sections 352 and 347 of the penal code of the laws of Zambia.
Particulars of these charges were that on unknown dates but between December 10, 2019 and January 2, 2020 while in Kapiri Mposhi, Ajusa and Kunda knowingly and fraudulently uttered false documents namely ZAMRA, ZRA, ERB, CCPC and HPCZ identity cards with intent to defraud.
The duo pleaded not guilty to all charges.
But when the matter came up for commencement of trial on February 26, 2020 the accused persons sought to change their not guilty plea to guilty.
This prompted Magistrate Edward Banda to adjourn the matter to the following day for reading of facts and sentencing.
And when the matter came up today, Magistrate Banda convicted the duo on all counts and sentenced the convicts to three years imprisonment on each count which will run concurrently.
The sentences will be served from Mukobeko Maximum Prison in Kabwe.
In passing judgment, Magistrate Banda observed that there was need for the court to met out stiffer punishment against such offences to deter would be offenders in order to protect the general public from fraudsters.