THE Lusaka Magistrate Court has admitted into evidence a report of findings by the Ministry of Justice highlighting how money was allegedly paid to undeserving people in a case in which Lusaka lawyer Nelly Mutti is facing 33 counts of theft amounting to over K35 million.
Mutti’s lawyers had objected to admitting the report into evidence contending that the witness on stand, Raphael Simfukwe, an assistant director at the Public Service Management Division, was not competent to do so.
The lawyers argued that the permanent secretary at the ministry of Justice was the competent one to produce the document as evidence because the Ministry is the institution that undertook investigations to establish what transpired during the payment of the retirees.
Mutti, 58, of Makeni is charged with a count of forgery, uttering false documents and 31 counts of theft.
When the matter came up for ruling, Magistrate Humphrey Chitalu said admitting the document to evidence would not prejudice Ms Mutti in any way and that it was relevant to the case.
Mr Chitalu noted that Mr Simfukwe was competent to produce the document as he was the one who created it as a Zambian Government employee and that the report is a Government document.
“The document be and is ably produced by PW 1 [Mr Simfukwe]. He has complied with the requirements of the law. He established the source of information and he made the document from a computer in his office,” he said.
And Mr Simfukwe maintained that through a comparison of information from the Government data base and that from Lukona chambers, it was established that the number of people entitled to be paid was inflated.
He said this was because there was a duplication of recipients in some cases and that some were not entitled to loss of salary.
Mr Simfukwe said in other cases, some employee numbers and National Registration Card (NRC) numbers could not be matched to the government data.
“The computation was translated… those classified as not eligible to be paid but were submitted as paid were translated into money amounting to K35,951,705 million was not correctly paid out,” Mr Simfukwe said
It is alleged, in the first count, that Mutti on dates unknown but between January 1, 2009 and April 1, 2009 in Lusaka, jointly and whilst acting with others, with intent to defraud or deceive, forged a civil servants voluntary separatees list purporting to show that it was genuinely made and issued by the Voluntary Separation Association of Zambia when in fact not.
In the second count, Mutti is alleged to have uttered a false document between January 1, 2002 and April 23, 2009 in Lusaka, knowingly and fraudulently, namely a civil servants voluntary separatees list to the principal registry of the High Court of Zambia.
In counts three to 33, Mutti is charged with theft of money in different amounts and on different dates from April 23, 2009 to June 21, 2013, amounting to over K35 million.