Francistown Principal Magistrate, Dumisani Basupi has advised police officers to hold workshops in order to enhance their skills in handling civil and criminal matters.
Basupi made the statement when presiding over a case in which five women claim to have been defrauded a total of over P10 000 by a business agent in Francistown in June 2013.
According to the charge sheet, Ketshabile Ntuka, a business agent based in Francistown allegedly defrauded the complainants, Shathani Gaothuse, Masego Seemule, Agnes Kebatshabile, Christinah Bagwasi and Kefilwe Salobati over P10 000 after she failed to deliver business services they had demanded. The services they had demanded include among others, finding business office space, opening of business accounts and provision of trading licenses.
The complainants then reported the matter to Francistown Police Station where they opened a case of obtaining by false pretence against the accused. After reporting the case, the accused then compensated the complainants their money.
However, giving evidence in court on Friday all the complainants expressed their satisfaction with the accused calling for the court to drop the charges against her.
The magistrate took issue with the police for registering this case as a criminal matter rather than advising the complainants to register the case as a civil matter. He said that there is a need for the police to be further trained in handling cases. He said that the police should have advised the complainants to issue a writ of summons and institute a civil case rather than a criminal matter. He also took issue with the complainants for reporting a case and further dropping it saying that it is an abuse of police duties.
“I think the police should start holding workshops in order to enhance their skills on how to handle cases. This matter should not have been alive by now because it is a June 2013 matter. Reporting a case and dropping the charge is also very costly to the police because it involves resources and time. Police officers have a lot of duties to undertake every day. The complainants should have issued a writ of summons and instituted a civil case before the Magistrate court,” he said.
“I also want to make it clear that, where complainants prefer to use the police to obtain money, it is abuse of police duties. What surprises me in this case is that when the complainants received their compensation from the accused, they unanimously decided to drop the charges. The police should further be educated on what matters they should bring to court and what they should not bring,” he added.
In conclusion the magistrate dismissed the matter for want of prosecution.
Mbatshi Mafa from Francistown Police Station prosecuted while the accused was not represented.