Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Diamond smugglers infiltrate Botswana aided by citizens

FRANCISTOWN: Police here are grappling with a rise in diamond smuggling crimes having registered five such cases since the beginning of the year. 

This was revealed by the Officer in Charge of the Diamond and Mineral Protection Unit (North Division) Superintendent Ookeditse Moseki in an interview with the The Telegraph

He said on the 13 of February 2021 they arrested three suspects with 70 stones suspected to be rough and uncut diamonds. The trio has already appeared before the Francistown Magistrate court. The culprits are two Zimbabweans aged 30 and 31 and a Motswana also aged 39. The suspects have not taken their pleas and are due to appear back in court on 2nd of March 2021.

“We received information about these suspects on the 13th of February and we arrested them in Galo Mall. Most of these smugglers are foreigners who connive with citizens. We still do not know if these are real diamonds or not as they are yet to be examined,” he explained.

He said the stones are yet to be taken to the Geo Science Laboratory in Lobatse for examination. On a different note, Moseki pleaded with Batswana to never buy diamonds from individuals as it is prohibited to own diamonds in Botswana. He however said that for one to own a diamond they must be licensed. Illegal possession of diamonds they can attract a jail sentence of 5 to 10 years.

Meanwhile Moseki said they are also investigating another case in which two women all aged 38 years from Tonota village were found with pieces of white substances suspected to be a cut elephant task.

“The two women are helping the police with investigations but they are not in custody. We are yet to establish if the cut pieces are an elephant tusk or not,” he said.

Moseki also raised concern over a rise in fraud cases in his policing area. Although he could not produce statistics, he said it is worrisome that Batswana are continuing to fall victim to fraudsters. He emphasized that their office is inundated with such cases. He however said more often they arrest the culprits.

“We always appeal to members of the public to exercise caution against such criminals but sadly some of them ignore our advices. Some of the victims are swindled through the internet by foreigners claiming to be selling certain products at cheaper prices. People should be careful and avoid falling into traps set by cyber criminals.,” he said.

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