Last week Wednesday, Francistown Chief Magistrate, Mokwadi Gabanagae, sentenced a middle-aged man of Sebina Village to a term of five years imprisonment after the court found him guilty of possession of an uncut diamond.
According to the facts from the prosecution, on the 17th of October, 2008 the accused, Taelo Kombani, was arrested in Sebina Village after a tip off from the public that he was in possession of the gem and was looking for a buyer.
After the police were informed of the allegations, the accused was then searched and a greenish particle was recovered from him.
Giving evidence in court, one of the investigating officers in the case indicated that the accused agreed that the diamond fell from his pocket and it was his. He further revealed that he told the accused that the gem was to be taken to the government geologist where it was established to be a rough and uncut diamond and he was warned to produce a license authorizing him for the possession of such.
He failed to produce the license and was taken to the diamond and narcotics squad offices in Francistown and the diamond was seized from him to be used as evidence in court.
Facts from the prosecution further reveal that on the 6th of November in 2008, Theetso Pelaelo, who is a geologist, examined the particle and he also opined that the same was a rough and uncut diamond. It was then weighed and valued by a diamond valuer who certified that it weighed 2, 90 carats and valued at P11 261.86.
However, passing sentence, Gabanagae indicated that illegal possession of a diamond was a serious offence. He further stated that the law stipulates that such offences attract a minimum sentence of 5 years imprisonment not exceeding a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail.
The magistrate went further to establish that he sentenced the accused to a minimum sentence of five years imprisonment because he was a first offender, he was a youth, breadwinner and that he had pleaded guilty to the charge thus saving court’s time.
“The diamond will be given back to the prosecution and the accused has the right to appeal to the High Court if he feels aggrieved by the sentence,” said the Magistrate.
The state was represented by Counsel Reneetswe Rabosotho.