THE Ndola Magistrates Court has convicted former Defence Minister George Mpombo on one account of dishonoring a cheque amounting to K10 million.
Ndola Chief Resident Magistrate Kelvin Limbani convicted Mr Mpombo in a case which came up for judgment.
Facts of the offence are that on December 18, 2009, Mpombo, with intent to defraud, issued a K10 million cheque to Colwyn Limited on an insufficiently funded account at Standard Chartered Bank.
Magistrate Limbani said the court had taken note of Mr Mpombo’s evidence that he had December 17, 2009 phoned Mr Terence Findley of Colwyn Limited and asked him not to deposit the cheque the following day since he had cash at hand.
Mr Limbani said the court was convinced that the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that a cheque was issued and dishonoured and that the account was insufficiently funded.
He said the court was further convinced that the accused was aware of his obligation of paying back the money on December 18 and the consequences of not honouring that obligation.
Mr Limbani said since the accused had organised the money in cash on December 17, 2009, he should have deposited it in the account.
“I am convinced that the accused was fully aware of his obligations and since he had cash in hand on December 17th 2009, he should have deposited it. “Therefore, I find suppositions by the accused that he had called Mr Findley on December 17th 2009 asking him not to deposit the cheque as a mere afterthought meant to conceal the fact that he willfully had intent to defraud and I, therefore, convict him,” he said.
In mitigation, defence Lawyer Bonaventure Mutale asked the court to accord Mr Mpombo leniency by giving a penalty of a fine as opposed to a custodial sentence because the complainant had suffered no loss.
“I am humbly asking the court to accord maximum leniency to the accused person by considering a penalty of a fine as opposed to imposing a custodial sentence, considering that he repaid the debt at the earliest opportunity and that the complainant has suffered no loss,’ he said.
He further said the circumstances surrounding the case did not show any aggravation.
Mr Limbani reserved sentencing on August 9, 2010 and remanded Mr Mpombo in custody. – ZANIS.