A middle-aged man of Makobo Village in the Tonota Sub District, Shanganani Zibani, on Monday appeared before Francistown Principal Magistrate, Kgololesego Segabo, to answer for a single charge of stealing Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) copper cables.
According to the prosecution facts, the accused was arrested in Makobo Village on the 18th of October, 2011 after he was found burning the copper cables by the crime prevention volunteers in the village. He was reported to the police, arrested and a charge was levelled against him.
Giving evidence in court during trial, one of the state witnesses, an 18-year-old crime prevention volunteer, said that while taking a walk with a colleague in Makobo Village in the afternoon of the 18th of October, 2011 they saw black smoke coming out of Zibani’s yard. He said that out of curiosity, they rushed to the yard only to find Zibani burning huge coiled electricity copper cables.
“We went into the yard only to find the accused burning cables in a huge fire. We introduced ourselves as the crime prevention volunteers and asked him what he was doing and he simply got angry and just told us to mind our own business,” said the witness.
He said that the accused burned these cables to remove the copper wires from the plastic cover and piled them a few meters away from the fire. The witness said that they further interrogated him of where he got the copper cables; he got more furious and chased them from his yard. They then called the police who came and arrested the accused and seized the loads of copper cables.
Zibani has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
However, during cross examination, the defense attorney in the matter, Moabi Madandume, rubbished the testimony given by the witness, saying that the statement he gave in court varied from the one he wrote in the police statement. He said that in the police statement, the witness only said that he introduced himself as a police officer to the accused and in court he gave a different testimony.
“In your written statement, you clearly stated that you introduced yourself as a police officer during the said incident to the accused and now you are giving a contradictory statement that you introduced yourself to him as a crime prevention volunteer. You seem to be not telling the truth so how can the court trust you,” asked the attorney.
The state is represented by Atinah Mandingo of the DPP. ┬áIt is yet to call four witnesses as the case continues. ┬á
Zibani is out on bail.