Francistown Principal Magistrate, Dumisani Basupi last week took the Police Divisional Commander North, Assistant Commissioner Dinah Marate and the Station Commander of Dukwi Police Station, Superintendent Goitsemang Mokgatle to task due to laxity in the security of exhibits at Dukwi Police Station. Basupi was presiding over a case in which four men were convicted for destroying police evidence at the police station.
According to court documents, the accused, Kebalepile Malikinya and three others who are refugees based at Dukwi Refugee Camp, Boidamo Tekiso, Matthew Masuku and Joel Khupe, on the 7th of February 2015 willfully destroyed 200 litres of diesel worth P1 810.00 which was to be used as evidence in a theft case involving the first accused (Malikinya). The quartet stole the diesel from Dukwi Police Station and destroyed it in the nearby bushes a few kilometers from Dukwi village.
“I am still failing to understand how the exhibits were stolen while they were under the custodian of the police.
The police are required to work on shifts and to be vigilant at all times. In my view I feel that this case was not properly investigated and it raises a lot of questions than answers. This incident has the potential to harm the public confidence on the police. One other thing is that the police did not investigate each other on how this could have happened. I therefore order the court clerk to serve today’s court proceedings to the Divisional Commander North and the Dukwi Station Commander so that they can take action on this issue,” said a clearly concerned Basupi.
The Magistrate further condemned Dukwi Police Station for failing to put measures in place to make sure that similar offences do not repeat themselves.
“Even today, there are no measures to prevent such an incident from happening. I wonder how many exhibits are at Dukwi Police Station and I wonder if they are really safe,” added the magistrate.
Sentencing the accused, Basupi took into account that they all pleaded guilty to the offence and did not waste the court’s time. He said that their plea of guilt is a sign that they are remorseful for their actions. He also took into account the fact┬á that the accused were first offenders.
“However this offence tends to show that the accused persons were prepared to disturb attainment of justice. Due to the evidence that shows that the exhibits were destroyed in the bushes, it shows the accused benefited from the offence,” he said.
The accused were sentenced to two years suspended sentence for two years without committing any criminal offence. They are also to receive four strokes of the cane each upon being certified fit by the doctor. They have been given leave to appeal against conviction and sentencing at the high court in 14 days.
The accused were not represented while Sub Inspector Keobone Matsapa from Dukwi Police Station was prosecuting.