Bangladeshis, cop implicated in plasma thefts

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FRANCISTOWN: Two Bangladesh nationals and a special constable stationed at Tatitown police are suspected to be a part of a ring that specialises in breaking into warehouses and stealing valuable property especially plasma television sets.

In the first count, the state alleges that the on September 20, 2018 Bangladeshis, Moshair Hossain and Mustafa Kamai Sajib, special constable Abednico Mothaba, Zimbabwean Joseph Kateya, locals Lazarus Bhebhe, Kabo Ngwenya, Khumo Tibone, Edwin Sereme and Chesta Mehlwa Tshelele broke into Nihama Pty Ltd Warehouse in Francistown and stole plasma television sets and other valuables amounting to P215,500.

In the second charge the state alleges that the accused acting in concert broke into and entered a storeroom belonging to Super Life Trading in Francistown and therein stole Black Super Life television sets and other television sets worth P157,800 on October 9.

The accused are also alleged to have broken into Nihama Warehouse on October 31 and stole a variety of goods inclusive of television sets and other property worth P45,900. 

Moshair is the director of Zobeda Investments, which sells various television sets and other electronic goods while Sajib is the director of Opsherha Enterprises, which also specialises in selling various electronic goods.

On Tuesday, Hossain, 51, and Sajib, 38, through their attorneys Wada Nfila and Mbiganyi Mhizha respectively made an urgent application for bail before Justice Gaolapelwe Ketlogetswe. 

The ruling for the application for bail was adjourned to Wednesday morning but was again postponed to Wednesday afternoon.

Nfila, who spoke on behalf of the two accused persons prayed with the court to grant the accused bail because they are just incarcerated on holding charges.

He stated that the accused should be presumed innocent until proven guilty adding that the prosecution has no concrete evidence against them. 

“The applicants’ plea has been reserved. The state is only armed with complaints because we have not been served with witness statements. The two applicants have been staying in Botswana for 12 and 18 years respectively. They have school going kids, wives and businesses, which will suffer if they are perpetually kept in jail. They only eat halaal food which is not provided in prison,” said Nfila.

He added that Hossain is a diabetic who requires a special diet, which is not provided in prison.

“The state has failed to provide a timeframe when it would have finished its investigations. Our clients will suffer more prejudice should they continue to be incarcerated pending the date for the state to complete its investigations, which is currently unknown. Our clients are prepared to provide sureties who will make sure that they attend court sessions as and when required to do so. We pray that the accused should be granted bail on the grounds advanced above,” said Nfila.

However, state prosecutor Odirile Kahengwa pooh poohed what the defence attorneys said.

He told the court that the time is not ripe for the appellants to be granted bail because investigations into the matters are still at their initial stages.

“We are yet to recover some of the stolen goods which are said to be in Zimbabwe and Zambia. Some of the stolen properties were found in custody of the two applicants. We are yet to record statements from some of the witnesses who are also employees of the two applicants,” said Kahengwa.

Kahengwa added: “Therefore, granting the accused bail has the potential to jeopardise our investigations. We therefore fear that the accused will escape and not stand trial if they are granted bail because they are facing very serious charges”.

Other accused persons in the matter have not applied for bail and are also remanded in custody.

Editor's Comment
Seamless Business Environment Needed Post-COVID

The country was also classified as the least corrupt in the world with strong anti-graft checks and balances. With these assurances, investors were guaranteed safety on their investments and returns. That is no longer the case. Several countries like Namibia, South Africa and Mauritius have done well over the years and overtaken Botswana as attractive places to do business.Therefore, when countries that Botswana is competing with for a piece of...

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