Francistown Principal Magistrate, Dumisani Basupi on Friday denied bail to two South African nationals, Donald Nkosinathi and Solomon Zitha who are currently facing a charge of false representation.
According to court documents, on the 11th of February, 2015, the accused acting together with intent to defraud one Menje Phiri, falsely represented themselves as South African Police officers by arresting him in Francistown. They were later arrested after the accused reported the issue to Francistown Police Station.
During their initial appearance in court, the first accused (Nkosinathi) told court that they had followed the complainant Menje Phiri from South Africa, after suspecting that he was part of a drug ring which led to the death of his sister. He told court that his sister died after some drug dealers used her as a drug mule to traffic the drugs. He also said that they took the man to the police station in Francistown for questioning whereupon they found out that she was the wrong person. The other accused person, on the other hand, said that he was only accompanying Nkosinathi as his friend.
The prosecutor, Semakaleng Mazibane, from Francistown Police Station asked the court to remand the two men in custody as investigations were still incomplete. She also said that they are waiting for a police report from their police counterparts in South Africa. Mazibane┬áalso said that the two men cannot be given bail due to the seriousness of the offence.
On the other hand, the first accused (Nkosinathi) implored the court to take into consideration the time they spent in custody and further accused the prosecution for sleeping on its job.
“This matter has been postponed a number of times with the prosecution claiming that it is still doing its investigations. These investigations are taking a very long time. I have never been a criminal. Even back home in South Africa, I do not have any criminal records,” he said.
He also said that he is a law abiding South African citizen who respects the rule of law. He further said that he is a breadwinner in his family. His co-accused, Zitha also echoed the same sentiments. He pleaded with the court to grant him bail as he would not interfere with police investigations.
“ I also have a family to take care of back home and if I am remanded in custody my family will suffer. My other child is currently in hospital and I am the one who is taking care of him. I am praying this court to give me bail or at least allow me to pay a fine. I am prepared to pay if it means paying. I pray to this court to forgive me because I am innocent,” he said.
However the magistrate interjected and asked the second accused why he would ask for forgiveness if he knows that he is innocent. He said his statement is ambiguous.
“If you are innocent why would you ask the court to forgive you? There are discrepancies in what you are saying,” said Magistrate Basupi.
Giving his ruling, the Magistrate said that he will give the prosecution their last chance to wind up their investigations. The two men are not represented and their next mention is on the 16 of March, 2015.
Meanwhile the magistrate also denied bail to Mukani Bobo Zebe, a middle aged man from Tutume village who is facing a single count of obtaining by false pretences.
According to the particulars of the offence, Zebe and others who were not before court, on the 17th of January 2015 in Francistown, jointly and acting together┬á in concert with intent to defraud, obtained a Land Cruiser valued at P250 000 and Toyota Hilux D4D valued at P360 000 from Destiny’s Car Rental in Francistown.
It is alleged that Zebe who is the first accused pretended that he was renting the car for a trip to Jwaneng. He was given the cars and was due to return on the 20th January, 2015. He however never returned the cars as per the agreed dates leading to his arrest. The vehicles have not yet been recovered and the other accused persons are currently on the run.
However the prosecutor in the matter, Mengisto Chigala told court on Friday that they are not opposed to the accused being given bail, but said they need more time to bring the investigation officer to come and explain to court the circumstances surrounding the case.
“The total amount of the cars is worth over P600 000. It is too early for the accused to be granted bail. We plead with the court to give us a chance to bring the investigation officer so that he can explain to court the circumstances surrounding this case before bail can be considered. The investigation officer who is part of the serious crime squad is currently in South Africa where he is doing some investigations in this matter including other matters,” he said.
In conclusion, the magistrate ordered that the accused be remanded in custody and will appear for mention on the 6th of March, 2015. He further said his bail application will be considered during that day.