By CHARLES MUSONDA
A PROSECUTION witness has conceded that she was still fishing evidence after trial in a case a female is accused of forging a grade 12 certificate and obtaining pecuniary advantage amounting to over K498,000 had already started.
This is in a case Rhodah Ng’uni Trigain Kansembe is accused of the subject offences while her two co -accused persons have been accused of aiding and abetting a crime.
When the matter came up for continued trial before Lusaka Magistrate Irene Wishimanga yesterday, Ministry of Education Lusaka district accounts assistant Ruth Phiri testified that in January 2020 she received Ng’uni’s file from the registry with an instruction to compute the latter’s salary progression from 2001, her year of appointment, to 2018 when she was removed from the payroll.
Ms. Phiri, 52, then produced a copy of Ng’uni’s salary progression bearing two date stamps; one indicating January 9, 2020 and the other showing January 20, 2023. In cross- examination by defence lawyer Osborne Ngoma, the admitted that she was not aware that trial in the case had already started in court on September 22, 2022 before she stamped the document on January 20, 2023.
Ms. Phiri further admitted that she was fishing for evidence after the matter had already started in court and that she signed on the document last week but in her evidence- in – chief she told the court that Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) officers visited the ministry’s offices in January 2020 to investigate the case.
She also said she did not know how Ng’uni became a member of the Professional Teachers Union of Zambia (PROTUZ) where she served as deputy general Secretary on secondment before she resigned, adding that she would not dispute that the accused person was elected to serve in the said position.
Earlier, Mr. Ngoma put it to another witness, Bernadette Kayombo, a senior human resource officer at the ministry’s Lusaka district office, that she was fabricating her evidence against the accused person due to a number of questions surrounding her letter of appointment.
Ms. Kayombo said she was not there when the form was being filled and that she did not see the accused person fill part of the form.
She said she would not know who wrote on the form because she was not there and that she did not subject the document to forensic science examination. She further told the court she is neither the appointing authority (Teaching Service Commission) nor part of the Teaching Council of Zambia. Trial continues on May 17, 2023.