A 31 year old teacher of Kapiri Mposhi has been sentenced to two years imprisonment for using a forged teacher’s diploma to get employment in the civil service.
Doreen Libongani of Ndeke Compound and a class teacher at Lukomba Secondary School in Kapiri Mposhi was in court facing four counts ranging from forgery, uttering false documents, obtaining pecuniary advantage to money laundering in the matter before Kapiri Mposhi Magistrate Edward Banda.
Libongani was arrested on September 25, 2020 by Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) Officers following information that a teacher at Lukomba Secondary School had used fake credentials to secure employment in the civil service.
In the first count, Libongani was charged with an offence of making a false document contrary to section 344 (a) of the Penal Code of the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence were that between November 31, 2011 and December 31, 2012 whilst acting jointly with others unknown, Libongani made a transcript of results purported to be issued by Evelyn Hone College when in fact not.
In count two Libongani was charged with an offence of uttering false documents contrary to section 352 and 347 of the penal code chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.
Facts before court were that on unknown dates but in November 2011 knowingly and fraudulently uttered a false document namely a transcript of results from Evelyn Hone College to Lwendo Muleya a
Human Resources Officer at the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) in Kapiri Mposhi when applying for employment as a teacher.
In the third count Libongani was indicted on a charge of obtaining pecuniary advantage by false pretenses contrary to section 309 A (1) (2) (c) of the penal code chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.
This is after the now convict by means of false pretenses dishonestly obtained for herself pecuniary advantage by earning a salary amounting to K 642, 508 .47 purporting to be a qualified teacher when in fact not.
In the fourth count Libongani was charged with an offence of prohibition of money laundering contrary to section 7 of the Prohibition and Prevention of Money Laundering Act Number 14 of 2001 of the laws of Zambia.
Libongani between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2020 did engage directly in an illegal activity involving K 642, 508.47 which came in her possession after deceiving a public officer at the DEBS Office in Kapiri Mposhi that she was a qualified teacher when in fact not and laundered the said money to benefit herself as proceeds from an illegal activity.
Libongani pleaded not guilty to all the charges compelling the prosecution to call-up nine witnesses from Payroll Management and Establishment Control (PMEC), Teaching Service Commission (TSC), Evelyn Hone College and the DEBS office among others to testify in the matter.
During trial, Evelyn Hone College Head of Communications Skills, Charity Gize testified that after a conducted search in the school files no name by Doreen Libongani appeared in the institutions records nor in the 2010 graduation book adding that Libongani’s name was also not on the certificate collection form from the institution.
And PMEC Director Mwape Ngulube, confirmed that Libongani was employed in the public service in 2012 under employee number 223244 as a teacher and introduced on the payroll on January 1, 2012.
Mr Ngulube availed all the pay slips to the court showing the salaries amounting to K 642, 508 .47 that Libongani had drawn during her eight year service in the public service.
Libongani was found with case to answer but could not call defense witnesses and opted to remain silent prompting the court to convict her.
In mitigation, Libongani pleaded with court to exercise maximum lenience on her as she was a single mother with three young children aged between five months and 10 years.
But in passing judgment today, Magistrate Banda observed that the nature of the offence that Libongani had committed was very serious as it deprived qualified and deserving teachers employment in the civil service.
Magistrate Banda also stated that fake qualifications have potential to compromise the quality of education in the country stressing that punishment should be meted out to those perpetrating the vice.
Magistrate Banda then sentenced Libongani to two years imprisonment on each count from count 1 to 3 to run concurrently and imposed a K5000 fine on the fourth count or six month Simple Imprisonment in default.