Francistown High Court Judge Moses Chinhengo on Friday advised one Kemoneilwe Kobae, 45, of Letlhakane in Boteti sub-district to launch a civil case against the police if he wants relief in a matter in which he is accusing the police of failing to return some goods that they allegedly confiscated from his house.
Kobae told the court that the police confiscated his property during a raid at his house in 2001, after which he was convicted for receiving stolen property. He was later found guilty by a customary court in Letlhakane, flogged and locked up for five months.
During a subsequent appeal to a higher court in Serowe, Kobae’s conviction was overturned and all the charges against him dropped. But his attempts to recover the confiscated goods failed as the police repeatedly refused to return them.
Kobae also said that the police have in the past refused to give him back the goods as they said that he had failed to identify them. While he admits that some of the goods that were found at his house were indeed stolen property, he insists that they did not belong to him but rather to two of his friends whom he named as Carlos and Steven.
For his part, Justice Chinhengo said that a report from the customary court of appeal in Serowe states that Kobae has received 12 items that were taken by the police from his house, and continues to insist that 60 more are still to be returned.
The customary court of appeal’s report also notes that Kobae keeps on increasing the number of goods that were allegedly taken from his house by the police.
“The High Court has a difficulty in establishing the real number of items that you are demanding. Part of the property that you are claiming was not listed in writing, and the court cannot establish how many of your goods were taken,” Chinhengo said.
The judge also advised the applicant to institute a civil case against the police and prove his case in court if he wants to get his goods back.
Kobae told The Telegraph in a subsequent interview that the police ransacked his house and took most of his property. He added that most of the property that was taken was bought through a business loan that he took from CEDA, and he is now saddled with the responsibility of paying for goods that the police have kept for themselves. To that end, he has decided to launch a P52 000 civil suit against the police.