FRANCISTOWN: Chief Magistrate Dumisani Basupi yesterday sentenced three bogus spies to a cumulative 20 years jail term.
The three were found guilty of falsely representing themselves as agents of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
Alakanani Kiba, a former police officer, and third accused, Thabo Sello, were each sentenced to six years in prison while Victor Tachipulu, received eight years.
Alfred Matshambane, who was the forth accused, later turned an accomplice/State witness in the matter.
Passing the sentence, Basupi noted that Kiba and Sello were first offenders while Tachipulu was previously convicted of impersonating a person employed in the public service in the past, a similar offence to the one he is currently facing.
“Tachipulu was also found guilty of illegally dealing in diamonds in 1985.
This shows that he is a hard learner who does not want to repent from his past mistakes. The law provides that the accused should be sentenced to not more than 12 years in jail for this offence,” said Basupi.
The magistrate wondered why the Legislature had not prescribed a mandatory minimum sentence for the offence since it is a serious matter just like in rape and robbery that attract a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in jail.
Basupi said that it was clear when the first prosecution witness, Matshambane, gave evidence that the accused had planned to commit the offence.
He said that Kiba told Matshambane that they must go to Sebina to arrest a certain Indian businessman while posing as DIS agents.
“This clearly demonstrates that the accused were well aware that they were going to swindle a foreigner.
Obviously this tarnishes the image of Botswana before the eyes of the international community when foreigners or even locals are arrested by fake security agents. While every matter is dealt with on its on merits or demerits, in my view this further aggravates the matter because you cheated a foreigner,” said Basupi.
He added that it is still a mystery how the accused managed to get a Government Purchase Order (GPO) that they possessed when they went to cheat the businessman. “I have no doubt that the actions of the accused will make citizens and foreigners alike to in future revolt when dealing with genuine security agents,” said Basupi.
The state alleged that Kiba, Tachipulu and Sello falsely represented themselves as DIS officers and unlawfully arrested Pankajkumar Shah, an Indian businessman, at Sebina on February 12, 2012.
The accused were also charged with defrauding Shah of P6,200 the same day at Mathangwane.
The matter was later withdrawn after the accused paid Shah the money they fraudulently obtained from him.