Gaborone Chief Magistrate, Lot Moroka, on Thursday sentenced Tiro Mothusi to a total of six years, wholly suspended, and to a fine of P10, 000 for corruption and fabrication of evidence.
This followed his judgment two days earlier in which he said that there was evidence that Mothusi had committed the offence of corruption by promising to reward a former prison warden, Akofang Moasetso, for retrieving a prisoner’s docket.
As for fabricating evidence after he had helped to doctor the prison docket to show that a certain Zolile Makonfane had visited a former prisoner, Philemon Makonfate, whilst serving time in prison when he knew that not to be the case, Moroka, in his, judgment said that the crime of corruption was a serious crime which carries a maximum jail sentence of seven years.
He also said that the crime of corrupting a civil servant was very serious in that a corrupted civil servant would not fairly deliver goods and services required from him and, as such, the nation at large would suffer.
Corruption, he said, is a threat to the national development of a country and that this calls for the Courts to impose severe punishment for the offenders in order to deter others from committing similar crimes.
On the second charge of fabricating evidence, the Magistrate said that fabrication of evidence strikes at the heart of legal systems as it leads to wrong decisions being made and the nation being affected.
Moroka said that Mothusi, as a lawyer, should have known better that fabrication of evidence was contamination of evidence and that those found guilty of it should be given stiff sentences.
The Magistrate also said that handing down a custodial sentence on the accused person would be catastrophic as he had already lost his career as a lawyer because of the conviction.
Mothusi has indicated that he will appeal the conviction at the High Court.
On the other hand, the state’s principal prosecutor, Kgosi Ngakayagae, also indicated that they would look closely at the judgment and did not rule out the possibility of appealing
”We will study the judgment and see if there are any grounds for appealing,” he said.
Mothusi initially appeared with a Gaborone attorney, Tango Rubadiri, who was finally found with no case to answer. Rubadiri had been charged with receiving stolen property in the form of the prisoner’s docket, which the Magistrate said was doctored to show evidence favouring Mothusi.