Four suspects who allegedly swindled an unsuspecting business woman of large amounts of cash and goods after pretending to be police officers appeared before Francistown Magistrate Dumisani Basupi last week. The alleged police impostors, Tshepo Bebhe, Dennis Tabulawa, Gaone Patronella Smart and Esther Chengeta were hauled before court last week to answer for a single count of fraud.
According to the charge sheet, on or about the 19th of June 2014, the accused acting jointly and in concert at Ntshe location in Francistown with intent to defraud, obtained cash and goods amounting to over P30 000 from one Tina Maina, a businesswoman, after claiming to be police officers. Giving evidence in court, the investigating officer, Constable Detective Gaikanngwe Matoa told court that their investigations have revealed that the first accused, Bhebe, knew where the complainant stayed and knew she was a businesswoman who had money.
“It emerged in our investigations that Bhebe is the one who alerted others that the complainant was a business woman and had money. A plan was hatched by all the accused persons to masquerade as police officers where they took money and goods from the complainant claiming that she is selling illegal goods,” he told the court.
He said the two other accused persons, who are currently on the run, were fully clad in police uniforms on the day of the offence while the second and third accused, Tabulawa and Smarts, claimed to be police detectives.
“A vehicle belonging to the fourth accused, Chengeta was used for transport during commission of the crime,” added Matoa.
All accused persons have pleaded not guilty to the offence. The court ordered that the first, second and third accused should be remanded in custody as they have not fulfilled their bail conditions, while the fourth accused is out on bail. In another case, Magistrate Basupi remanded a 31 year old man of Francistown, Comfort Moathodi who is facing a single charge of murder. It is alleged that on or about the 4th of August 2014, Moathodi murdered one Koziba David in Donga location, Francistown. The prosecutor, Mengisto Chigala from Francistown Police Station had pleaded with the court to remand the accused in custody as investigations are still at a preliminary stage. He also raised fears that the accused would be in danger if granted bail because family members of the deceased are furious.
“The safety of the accused would be compromised if he is given bail. Granting the accused bail would risk his life as the family of the deceased is furious. Our investigations are also at a preliminary stage, therefore granting the accused bail would give him a platform to temper with evidence,” said Chigala.
The accused has reserved his plea as he still has to consult with his lawyer. He will appear for mention on the 25th of August 2014.