A Francistown middle-aged man Messiah Kentse Mbo last week appeared before Francistown Magistrate Njabuliso Siziba on a single count of unlawful possession of rough diamonds. The particulars of the offence are that the accused on the 9th of March 2010 at or near Block 3 in Francistown , being a person not licensed, authorized or exempted under the Precious and Semi-Precious Stones Act was found in possession of three diamonds weighing 10.174 carats and valued at over P27 000. The accused has pleaded not guilty to the offence.
According to evidence before court, on the 9th of March 2010 the police were tipped by some members of the public that Mbo was in possession of the diamonds. They then conducted their investigations and traced the accused where they found him in the streets of Block 3 location in Francistown. They searched him and an altercation occurred between him and the police after retrieving three diamonds from him. During the altercation, one of the diamonds fell to the ground and was only found the next day. After several failed efforts to retrieve the lost diamond, the police proceeded with the accused to the police station for further interrogation. He was later remanded in custody. The following day, on the 10th of March 2010 he was taken back to his yard by the police where a further search was conducted but nothing was found.
In testimony during trial, the accused maintained his innocence saying that the police never retrieved any diamonds from him. He alleged that the police framed him. “I was at home with one Dereck George, a mechanic who was fixing my vehicle. The police came and demanded that I should go with them to their offices. I did so and when we were at their offices one of the police officers brought some shiny stones saying that they took the stones from their reliable source implicating me as the owner of the stones. I know nothing about the stones or the so called diamonds,” he said.
Mbo said the police then remanded him in custody. He said the following day the police took him back to his yard where another search was conducted but nothing was found. He said that he was then taken back to the police station and on the way, the vehicle stopped with one of the officers saying that he dropped one of the diamonds. He said that the officer then picked up the stone from the ground asking him if he knew what the stone was. “I told him that I did not know anything about the stone,” he testified. The accused also called his defence witness George who corroborated his evidence denying a claim by the prosecution that Mbo was arrested in the streets and diamonds were found in his possession. “The police came and arrested Mbo in his yard while I was fixing his vehicle.
It is not true that they arrested him in the streets of Block 3 location. Even the neighbors and some footballers who were playing in the nearby soccer field were watching,” the witness said. The court gave both the defense and the prosecution to have filed their written submissions by January 24th. The accused is represented by Keitshegile Sechele of KK Sechele Attorneys while Ogolotse Tampa of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is prosecuting. The accused is out on bail.