Elephant tusks thief to be sentenced

FRANCISTOWN: A 54-year-old man who pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of two elephant tusks without a license will be sentenced on August 7. The convict, Uyapo Jerry of Tutume was jointly charged with Mbatshi Walila, 30, also from the village.

However, prosecutor Kagiso Lekang from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) yesterday applied for the charge against Walila to be dropped because of insufficient evidence.

He also applied for the BMW car belonging to Walila that was impounded by the police to be returned to him.

The facts of the case are that on November 1, 2014, the police found two elephant tusks weighing 39.2 kilograms and valued at P62,000 at Dumela Industrial Site in Francistown.

In mitigation, Jerry said his family would suffer if he is given a custodial sentence. “I take care of my family through farming.

My wife is asthmatic and would suffer very much since I sometimes have to take her to the clinic late at night after she has suffered from bouts of asthma.

I pray with the court to have mercy on me because I have learnt that crime does not pay,” said Jerry.

Magistrate Basupi told Jerry he has committed a serious offence that attracts five years imprisonment or P50,000 fine or both if found guilty.

Basupi ruled that Walila should be given back his car and the P20,000 that he deposited with the court as one of his bail conditions.

Meanwhile, a 32-year-old man pleaded not guilty to a single count of obtaining by false pretences.

The state alleges that Kabelo Mompati unlawfully and with intent to defraud obtained a Toyota car worth P55,000 belonging to Owen Monyatsi by falsely representing to him that he had money in his bank account that he would use to pay for the car while he knew that to be false.

Mompati told Basupi that he would engage an attorney to represent him in the matter.

Earlier prosecutor Pascal Mhandu told the court that investigations in the matter have been completed and the state does not oppose the accused to be granted bail.

Basupi granted Mompati bail on conditions that he pays P2,000 and brings two sureties who shall each pay P1,000.

In addition, the magistrate told Mompati not to interfere with state witnesses, report to Francistown police once every Monday between working hours and attend court as and when needed. The case is due in court on August 6 to set trial dates.

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