CHARLES MUSONDA writes
A LUSAKA woman has died of suspected depression a few months after discovering that her most trusted niece had allegedly stolen her K190,500 using forged bank withdrawal slips.
Police have since arrested the suspect, Fridah Tembo, 20, and her friend Matildah Katungu, 22.
The law enforcement wing of Government has jointly charged the two young women with 22 counts of forgery and uttering false documents, and one count of theft.
According to family and court sources, the woman identified as Helen Nalwimba, 46, died last Wednesday as she was being taken to hospital by her neighbour.
One of the sources said the money the women had stolen was part of Ms Nalwimba’s dead husband’s benefits held in the widow’s bank account at the Long Acres branch of a well-known commercial bank.
He said before her death, Ms Nalwimba’s health was initially poor but it worsened after she discovered that the money in her bank account was no longer there until she died on January 9, 2019.
Another source said Ms Nalwimba had trusted Tembo and used to send her on errands including withdrawing money from her bank account.
According to the indictment presented before Lusaka magistrate Rachael Mwansa last Friday, Tembo and Katungu, a student at an unnamed learning institution, allegedly forged withdrawal slips using Ms Nalwimba’s National Registration Card and presented them to a bank teller, on 22 occasions between May 8, 2018 and October 22, 2018.
It is alleged that the two jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown, and with intent to deceive or defraud, forged Bank withdrawal slips in the names of Helen Nalwimba purporting to show that they were genuinely filled in and signed by the said Ms Nalwimba when in fact not.
In some counts, the duo allegedly forged the slips and presented them to a named teller at Atlasmara Bank Long Acres Branch, more than once in a day.
When the case came up for plea before Ms Mwansa last Friday, the two accused persons could not do so as the defence team was not yet ready. The case was adjourned to January 24, 2018.
Ms Mwansa granted Ms Nalwimba’s niece and her accomplice a K50,000 bail in their own recognisance with two working sureties in the like sum in their own recognisance.
Before her arrest Tembo served a three-month sentence after being convicted of assault.