A Police officer accused of possession of K2,100 counterfeit n o t e s h a s t o l d t h e N d o l a Magistrate’s Court that mobile money operators harassed him and demanded to be bribed for the transaction. E l l i n g t o n C h i p o k a , 2 5 , a police officer based at Peter Singogo police camp in Ndola, was arrested and charged with being in possession of counterfeit banknotes.
It is alleged that on August 16 last year, Chipoka knowingly had in his possession K2,100 counterfeit banknotes which were in K100 denominations. When the matter came up on Tuesday before Ndola resident magistrate Chinga Chitabo, the court found Chipoka with a case to answer. In his defence, Chipoka said on the material day, he sold his laptop to a man only identified as Gilbert. He said after running his errands, he went to Masala market to deposit K1,000 in his aunt’s mobile money account and the rest to his account.
“I went to an MTN booth to deposit money but the operator told me she only had space for K1,000, so I deposited and went to another booth just six metres from where I did the first transaction,” Chipoka said. He said the operator asked for his number so that the money could be deposited. Chipoka said after some time, the mobile money traction operator told him to wait as she entered a nearby shop. “She then called me inside the shop,” Chipoka said. Chipoka narrated that while inside the shop, two men insulted him and gave him an option to bribe them with K1,000 each for transacting in counterfeit notes. He said after he refused to bribe them, they took him to Masala Police Station.
Chipoka said the officer who arrested him did not conduct investigations on the matter to establish the source of the alleged counterfeit notes. He also presented a call record from Zamtel which had interactions his phone number had with the person he sold the laptop to, whose phone has gone off. In cross-examination, State prosecutors challenged Chipoka why the phone document he provided before court showed records starting from November and not the time of the alleged offence in August. In his response, Chipoka said he did not know.
The State prosecutors also wondered why he did not present the receipts of the said laptop transaction. When asked whether or not he inspected the notes after selling his laptop to check if they were genuine, Chipoka said he was shocked to find out that they were forged. Earlier, arresting officer Kelvin Chansa said he charged Chipoka after a complainant reported him to police. Detective sergeant Chansa said that Chipoka went to an MTN booth belonging to Mathews Kapindula in Masala where he allegedly deposited 10 of the K100 counterfeits.
“On August 17 last year, I was allocated a docket to investigate a matter in which Matthews Kapindula had reported a person whom he alleged to have produced some K100 notes at his MTN booth situated at Cairo Masala,” Mr Chansa said. He said while conducting a search on Chipoka, he came across 11 more K100 notes on Chipoka. Mr Chansa further said Bank of Zambia also confirmed that the notes were fake after he submitted them for verification. The matter will come up on May 24 for continued defence.