FRANCISTOWN: A police officer based in Lobatse appeared in court with three others to face a charge of robbery yesterday.
The state alleges that the police officer acted jointly with Gopolang Mfana, Trust Nare, Onalenna Kelaotswe and Morekolodi Kokole and stole a cellphone valued at P285, belonging to Tuelo Zhola at Block One location, Francistown, on November 9.
Police revealed that the accused allegedly threatened to stab Zhola with a knife. The accused have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
During court proceedings, prosecutor Alexander Phale applied for charges to be read to the accused. He further applied for Nare and Mfana to be further remanded in custody but he did not object to others being given bail.
Explaining why Nare and Mfana should be remanded in custody, investigating officer, Master Seleka, said Nare was a foreigner who had entered Botswana through an ungazetted point.
“Nare also does not have a permanent place of residence in the country nor a job. We fear that he may abscond granted bail,” said Seleka. He added that Nare was also facing similar allegations of robbery that police were still investigating.
Seleka said Mfana was a police officer who should be denied bail because he was supposed to protect the community, but he had allegedly committed a crime.
“People are not free in the community after Mfana allegedly committed the offence. He is also facing a similar charge of robbery that we are still investigating. The complainant in the matter also alleges that Mfana and Nare raped her,” said Seleka.
He added that Seleka be denied bail since he lived in Lobatse and may compromise their investigations.
In cross-examination, Nare said that he knows nothing about the rape incident he is alleged to have also committed. He told the court that he will not abscond from trial as alleged by the prosecution. Mfana told the court that he also knows nothing about the rape issue. Interjecting, Seleka told the court that Mfana is the one who held Zhola’s hands when the robbery was committed. During
“Concerning the rape issue, we asked the investigating officer to bring the complainant but he has still not availed her. He only told us that she is still receiving medical attention at the hospital. My job is at stake. I am applying to be given bail nobody is taking care of my girlfriend (Kelatotswe) who is also charged with this offence. I will attend trial as and when required to do so.”
The investigating officer told the court that the complainant is traumatised by the issue and is still receiving medical treatment.
Giving a ruling concerning bail for Mfana and Nare, Principal Magistrate Sijabuliso Siziba said that the accused should be treated as innocent until the court proves them guilty.
“The Constitution clearly stipulates that the accused has a right to liberty although the right is not absolute and can be interfered with if there are concrete reasons to do so.”
“Having carefully examined the arguments put before me, I am of the view that Nare should be denied bail because he is a flight risk as he is an illegal immigrant. He has not challenged that he does not have a passport,” he added.
Siziba said Mfana had not demonstrated that he would not attend trial as alleged by prosecution.
“The accused (Mfana) has no previous offences. No argument was raised that he resisted arrest or interfered with witnesses upon his arrest. He shall be given bail on condition that he pays P2,000 and brings one surety who shall bind himself with P1,000. He shall also report to Lobatse police once a week,” he said.
The case will resume on November 26.