Gaborone’s Extension Two Magistrate Court is expected to give a ruling on May 3 in a corruption case in which two police officers allegedly took bribes from Food Mart Supermarket General Manager, Charl Howard, so that they could cover up a case in which he had been accused of making homosexual advances to a male complainant.
Gilbert Matsiara and Kabelo Kentse, both police officers based at Gaborone Central Police Station, are facing charges of having received a bribe of P1 500 from the General Manager of Food Mart Supermarket, as a reward for showing farvour in discharge of their duties by omitting to open a case against Howard.
Earlier on, the court heard that the two accused officers were one day asked to take a statement from a complainant who was claiming that Howard had made unnatural sexual advances at him and that he had spurned his advances and went to Central Police station to report the matter. The officers, who are currently facing criminal charges, had, after interviewing him, phoned Howard asking for a bribe in order not to record the case.
Matsiara and Kentse, however, want their case to be referred to the High Court for direction.
In his submission, attorney Sebego, representing Matsiara, said that he was surprised to find that the handwritten statements he had admitted, were not similar to the typed ones he was given after making admissions.
Sebego said that several allegations made by the investigating officer in the matter and which are not in the typed version of the statement prejudices their case.
He told the court that he could not proceed with the case given the irregularity he had cited.
In response, the prosecutor agreed that there were two statements: one a typed version and the other a hand written one but denied that the two statements were different. The prosecutor said that Registry Clerks are required to type the statements contained in the original document in cases they feel might have to be referred to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions. If the copy sent to the DPP gets lost, he said, the original docket would still remain.
Further to that, he said that the defence had had enough time to look at the statements. What could have happened, he said, was that Sebego had, without reading the statements, just believed that they were the same. The prosecutor further said that he had not seen any statue that covers their case.
At that juncture the case was adjourned. When it proceeded later, Sebego too concurred that he had not seen a case similar to theirs, adding that the position unfortunately seemed to be that whatever the Court does innocent men should not be unduly convicted and guilty men acquitted.