The long-awaited case of a couple, Elizabeth and Patrick Anyanwu, who are charged with a single count of human trafficking will soon be committed to the High Court for commencement of the case.
In her submissions before the principal magistrate, Goodwill Makofi at Village Magistrate’s court during mention, State prosecutor, Priscilla Israel said investigations were complete and they are working on the committal to High Court. “On the 23rd October we went to Nigeria and have completed our investigations from that side and the documents will soon be sent through diplomatic channels,” said Israel.
“After receiving the documents, we will be ready to commit the case to High Court.”
Attorney for the accused duo, Busang Manewe expressed his concern over frequent postponement of the case by the State prosecution. He stated that this was the second batch of three months that prosecution had postponed the matter at the expense of the accused persons’ right to liberty.
“Prosecution has just requested for yet another two months. I wish to record our concerns towards the postponement of the case. I believe that prosecution should meet us half way, State cannot continue to get their wish whilst accused persons are denied their passports,” he said. Manewe pleaded with the State prosecution to consider relaxing their bail conditions so that the accused persons can be able to run their business. “Accused persons cannot run their business with this trended conditions. Patrick who is a Nigerian national uses the passport as his travelling document and identity card,” said Manewe. “Each and every time he has to explain himself to the police why he does not have his passport in his possession. You can imagine what will happen if he can come across mean police officers.” He went on to state that the second accused person, Elizabeth, is a Motswana and needs to travel but cannot do so as the police have
“Court needs to strike a balance in this matter. Prosecution just made an application verbally for the matter to be postponed for another two months, but said we should rather make an application. How does what they have just said differs from what I am requesting for?” said Manewe. The Magistrate, Makofi interrupted and advised Manewe to talk to his clients to consider applying for temporary travelling documents whenever they want to travel.
“Assuming Patrick wants to travel to South Africa, why can’t he apply for temporary travelling documents for that specific trip,” said Makofi. Responding to the defence’s concerns, Israel said they have long indicated that they cannot release them to the accused persons because they are the ones that they are using as their real exhibits.
“They can apply for new passports if that is allowed to consider applying for temporary travelling documents for specific trips,” said Israel. “However, the investigating officer in the matter accessing the progress of our investigations can be called before court to update court on this matter.”
Israel went on to state that if there is need for the accused persons to travel, there are risks that State should look into before granting them temporary travelling documents. “This is a serious matter in which a three-months-old child back in July this year was trafficked and it also involves a fake birth certificate of the minor child,” said Israel.
Makofi conceded with State submissions and advised defence to consider applying for temporary travelling documents whenever they want to travel supported by State prosecution.
The couple was arrested for a human trafficking offence in July at Block 8 location in Gaborone. They are currently on bail.