Dubious winner of MTN promotion jailed for 4 years 

By Staff Reporter

The Lusaka Magistrate Court has sentenced a Livingstone woman who dubiously won K1 billion (unrebased) MTN Win Beeg Promotion in 2012 to four years imprisonment with hard labour for fraudulently manipulating the competition.

Ndola magistrate Obbister Musukwa who was sitting in Lusaka has ordered that the property acquired through proceeds of crime which includes four plots in Livingstone, a vehicle be forfeited and sold so that the cash realised should be put in a government account.

In this matter, Jones Ilukena, Namuchana Sinuma and Richard Kawana were charged with eight counts of unauthorised interference with data, cheating and money laundering contrary to the Laws of Zambia.

In the first count, it was alleged that Ilukena on unknown dates but between September 1 and March 1, 2012 jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown, intentionally and without authority interfered with the MTN Summer Campaign WIN BEEG promotion data in a way that rendered it ineffective.

In the second count, it was alleged that Ilukena and Sinuma by means of fraudulent tricks or device obtained money from MTN Zambia amounting to K1,000,000,000 (unrebassed) (K1 million) purporting that Sinuma was the genuine winner when in fact not.

In count three to eight, the three are charged with money laundering and it is alleged that they, through money obtained from proceeds of crime, bought some houses in Livingstone, several properties, a vehicle and that they also deposited some of the money into Kawama’s Zanaco account.

In May, 2012, the Drug Enforcement Commission arrested Sinuma and Jones Ilukena, a former MTN Call Centre Support Engineer, for cheating and money laundering offences.

Also arrested was Richard Kawana in connection with the fraudulent offences and the trio was charged with eight counts of unauthorised interference with data, cheating and money laundering.

Delivering judgment, magistrate Musukwa said evidence suggested that Ilukena was an employee of MTN and designed the application that was used to run the competition with a grand prize of K1 billion unrebased and he had sole access to the laptop.

Magistrate Musukwa said the program did not randomly select winning numbers because the selection was preset as the winning number was deliberately hardcoded in the system.

He said at one point, Ilukena was asked to run the program a number of times and it kept drawing the same number belonging to Sinuma.

The court also found that Sinuma, the owner of the winning number, was related to Ilukena and that the number was predetermined to win the draw.

Magistrate Musukwa said prior to the Win beeg draw, evidence showed that Sinuma and Ilukena had been communicating on phone and that after the competition, the purported winner immediately deposited K400 million in Kawana’s account whom she said in her defence that he was a stranger.

Magistrate Musukwa said Sinuma’s winning was bogus as the draw was a fraud.

He said MTN was cheated and induced to deliver money causing them to suffer losses.

The convicts asked for leniency in their mitigation but the court sentenced them to four years.