Monday, January 25, 2021

Former councillor convicted of stock theft, applies for bail

A former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) councillor of Marobela Village in the Tonota North Constituency, Ali Molomo Maano, who is currently serving a five-year-jail term for stock theft, last week pleaded with the Francistown Magistrate, Thebeetsile Mulalu, to grant him bail pending appeal.

According to the facts from prosecution, the applicant, who is a farmer and a businessman, was charged alongside fellow businessman Kuhle Masala and herdman, Lekoko Masonja, in February 2008 after they were found in possession of cattle suspected to have been stolen in Marobela village.
They were all arraigned before the Francistown Magistrate Court and the other two accused were then discharged and acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Maano was then tried, convicted and sentenced in March this year.

However, his lawyer, Tshekiso Tshekiso of Tshekiso, Ditiro and Jani Legal Practice, pleaded with court last week to grant him bail pending appeal, saying that the decision would not cause any prejudice to the case. He said that giving the applicant bail would not hinder justice in the case as the accused is not likely to abscond. He also brought to the court’s attention that the applicant was once given bail prior to his conviction and did not violate any of the bail conditions.

“I even discussed our position with the state and they are not opposed to the applicant being granted bail,” he added.

He further said in his submissions that the Magistrate Court erred during trial in failing to analyze the evidence of the complainants who claimed ownership of the cattle because they could not give satisfactory evidence to link them to the cattle. He also said that the court did not give a fair hearing on the case because the applicant’s side of the story was neglected.

“The complainants were quizzed on the ownership of the cattle during cross examination but they could not give satisfactory evidence. We feel that the High Court could deal better with the matter than the Magistrate Court,” he concluded.

Judgment on the case will be delivered on the 27 of April this year.

The state was represented by Archie Makgowa from the Directorate of Public Prosecution.

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