FRANCISTOWN: Four men appeared before Chief Magistrate Faith Dlamini-Ng’andu for allegedly using force to steal a BMW car.
According to the charge sheet, Onkemetse Babakisi and Jabulani Kesiile of Bluetown location in Francistown and another local, Kenanao Tshabatau, and a Zimbabwean, Thabani Moyo, robbed Elias Fani of a BMW 1 series car worth P48, 000 at Borolong village on June 17.
The State alleges that the total amount of goods stolen by the accused is P56, 275 inclusive of the value of mobile phones of different brands and Fani’s money.
When the quartet appeared in court, prosecutor Mpho Kebodiretswe informed the Court that investigations of the matter are still ongoing and he therefore made an application for the pleas of the accused to be reserved.
“We pray that the accused should also be further remanded in custody,” Kebodiretswe added.
When praying to be granted bail, Babakisi said he is self-employed and taking care of his Standard 7 child who has no one to take care of since he (Babakisi) was incarcerated.
The second accused person, Kesiile, also pleaded with the Court to grant him bail because he will not interfere with police investigations.
“I am also innocent and if possible may the Investigations Officer (IO) be called to advance reasons why I should be remanded in custody,” said Kesiile.
The third accused person, Moyo, also prayed with the court to avail the IO to appraise the Court how he is implicated in the matter because he knew nothing about it.
“I was just arrested because I was found in the company of the other accused persons,” Moyo claimed.
Just like his co-accused persons, Tshabatau also pleaded with the Court to avail the IO to explain how he is linked to the matter.
The IO, Detective Inspector Richard Malibamba, said that the four accused were arrested during different dates while others were on the run.
“The accused once came before court for arraignment and thereafter they were taken to prison for quarantine for 14 days since it is now well known that we are now living during the COVID-19 era. I did not manage to interview them due to Coronavirus protocols. That is the reason we are praying that the accused should be further remanded in custody. Tshabatau and Moyo escaped while I was still interviewing them despite the fact that they were handcuffed. They were only arrested through the help of members of the public. Moyo is also in Botswana illegally since he failed to produce his travelling documents upon arrest,” said Malibamba.
Malibamba added that he was opposed to Babakisi to be granted bail because he wants to question all the accused persons at the same time.
When cross-examining Malibamba, Babakisi asked Malibamba why was he said that he (Babakisi) should be denied bail because he cooperated with the police since he was arrested.
In response, Malibamba told the Court that Babakisi was found in possession of some of the alleged stolen property at Borolong.
“Some of the stolen items have not yet been recovered and I need time to interview the accused with other accused persons,” said Malibamba.
During his time to cross-examine Malibamba, Kesiile asked Malibamba how long it would take him to question him and
Dlamini-Ng’andu quashed Kesiile’s plea that Malibamba should bring any evidence to show that he escaped from police custody.
“What is it that you want the IO to produce to show that you allegedly escaped,” said Dlamin-Ng’andu.
However, Kesiile’s plea that if at all he escaped from lawful custody, Malibamba should have charged him accordingly only served to complicate his woes since Malibamba stated that he was going to charge with escaping from lawful custody.
On his turn to ask Malibamba questions why he should be remanded in custody, Moyo asked Malibamba how he was linked to the crime.
Malibamba said: “It is to early to say that I have any concrete information about how the accused are linked to the offence. As I have already indicated, I have not interviewed all the accused persons. Moyo is also facing a charge of escaping from lawful custody. He is also wanted in Gaborone for a robbery case”.
At that point, Moyo interjected saying that it was not Malibamba’s duty reveal that he was wanted in Gaborone in connection to a robbery case.
However, Dlamini-Ng’andu came to Malibamba’s rescue telling Moyo that as the IO, Malibamba has a duty to tell the Court that Moyo has a robbery case in Gaborone or elsewhere in Botswana.
The magistrate said: “The character of the accused is one of the factors that the Court considers when deciding to grant or not grant bail.”
Dlamini-Ng’andu’s explanation did not go do well with Moyo who told Dlamini-Ng’andu that she was biased against him.
Moyo said: “You worship I will not ask the IO more questions because you are denying me the opportunity to ask him more questions. The Court is favouring the prosecution.”
Tshabatau’s plea to be given bail also failed as Malibamba said he has to interview him first with other accused persons.
In her ruling, Dlamini-Ng’andu said that the accused are facing a very serious offence.
“The IO has said that he has not interviewed the accused persons due to COVID-19 protocols. This to me is a reasonable explanation. It is therefore the duty of the prosecution to investigate the matter thoroughly through the IO. That can be done when all the accused are in custody for the following reasons: firstly the matter is very serious, secondly the matter is relatively fresh, thirdly there is a likely hood that more charges will be preferred against Kesiile and Moyo for allegedly escaping from custody, Moyo is also wanted for robbery in Gaborone and he has never disputed that and has also not disputed that he is an illegal immigrant,” said Dlamini when denying the accused bail.
The accused will appear in court on September 1 for status report.