Tight security as car theft suspects appear in court

FRANCISTOWN: Security was tight at the magistrates' court here on Tuesday during the arraignment of suspects alleged to have stolen four top-of-the-range government cars. Heavily armed police officers and prisons warden patrolled the Francistown Magistrates Court as Blessed Manisa, 38, Ontametse Monageng, 31, and Thato Marope, 32 appeared to face a single count of robbery.

The state alleges that the trio and others not before court stole a Toyota Land Cruiser worth P300,000, Toyota Hilux Double Cab worth P246,551, Toyota Fortuner Station Wagon worth P246,551 and another Toyota Hilux Double Cab valued at P246,551 in May last year.  The prosecution alleges that they used violence when committing the offence. They allegedly crossed the border to Zimbabwe with the cars with the intention of selling them.

The trio was not asked to plead before Principal Magistrate Moakofi Modisenyane. Manisa told the court that he has been languishing in Bulawayo Central Police Station ever since his arrest on May 13, 2012 before he was extradited to Botswana.  He said the state's failure to authenticate documents from Zimbabwean is greatly prejudicing him."I do not think that an act of simply authenticating if the documents from Zimbabwe are proper before court can take so long. The state had ample time since we were arrested to have finalised their case but slept on their job. They should have long finished that because I am a suspect in this case and have not been found guilty by any court," said a worried Manisa demanding to be given bail.

His co-accused Monageng, told the magistrate the 21 days extension sought by the prosecution to check if the person who signed the documents in Zimbabwe is a commissioner of oaths is unnecessarily long. He said the prosecution had ample time to have checked this but failed to do so.He pleaded with the magistrate that the seven days he set in a previous mention before court to make a ruling on the matter was appropriate. Echoing similar sentiments made by his co-accused, Marope said he will be greatly prejudiced if the magistrate heeds the prosecution's call of a 21 days extension in the matter. He said he has been incarcerated in Zimbabwe and Botswana for a long time and needed bail to attend to a personal matter.  In his ruling, the magistrate said the prosecution is not in denial that witness statements from Zimbabwe do not link the accused to the offence.  He explained that the prosecution does not dispute that they have taken an unreasonable period of time to authenticate documents from Zimbabwe. He explained that he takes into account that the accused are innocent before proven guilty. He, however, said he takes into consideration the seriousness of the matter and interests of society.He said the accused are alleged to have stolen property belonging to the state that is meant for the greater public good. He will decide when the matter will be heard on February 26.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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