By Tarisai Machakaire
A Harare woman was slapped with a four months’ prison term after she was found guilty of using fake Ordinary Level certificates and worked as an insurance agent at a local insurance firm for 11 years.
Abigail Mhizha, 45, appeared before Harare magistrate Josephine Sande charged with contravening the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) Act for presenting a forged certificate to a prospective employer with intent to gain employment.
A month was suspended on condition she deposits $100 fine and the remaining three months on condition of good behaviour.
Mhizha pleaded with the court saying she was a single parent of four and said she worked hard at First Mutual and even attained awards.
In passing sentence, Sande warned Mhizha to desist from earning a living by fraudulent means and urged her to sit for Ordinary level examinations and attain desired results.
“The court was going to make the accused person perform community service for the society to learn from her mistakes. However, after going for vetting community service officers have said you have another part-time job,” Sande said.
“The court has considered that you may lose your job and this may strain you since you are a single mother of four. However, go back to the bench and write your Ordinary levels.”
The complainant was Zimsec represented by assistant security officer Lee Banda.
Prosecutor Fransisca Mukumbiri alleged that on October 26, 2006 Mhizha submitted an Ordinary Level certificate number Z1173-354 to First Mutual Holdings Limited to secure employment as an insurance agent.
The vacancy required candidates to have at least five Ordinary Level passes with grade C or better and Mhizha got the job.
She worked for First Mutual for 11 years knowing that the said certificate tendered was fake.
During her tenure of office the Human Resource department at First Mutual queried the authenticity of her qualifications and asked her to resubmit her certificates.
She submitted the certificate which was in her name and it was forwarded to Zimsec for authentication.
Zimsec confirmed Mhizha’s certificate to be fake and that it belonged to Musarara Takawira who had not even passed examinations.
The case was reported to the police leading to her arrest. DailyNews