Goods worth thousands of Pula were on Thursday destroyed and burned by the Diamond and Narcotics Squad at Otse Police College.
The Assistant Superintendent of Diamond and Narcotics Squad, Kenosi Tsaanang, said they heard from the public that there are some people doing business selling counterfeit products and they investigated the matter further. Among these products are Viagra, contraception pills, music CDs, writable or re-writable CDs, and pornography DVDs.
According to the laws of Botswana, the possession of “Indecent and obscene material such as pornographic books, magazines, films, videos, DVDs and software” is prohibited in Botswana.
“Most of the people who trade in these are foreigners, especially in matters concerning fake pills and pornography DVD’s and one thing I can point out to people is that you are as guilty if having bought these fake products,” Tsaanang said. He added that as for empty CDs blanks) they destroy them because of the assumption that they are used for burning taped DVDs.
Tsaanang said that after their investigations and confiscating these fake products, the culprits are brought to court but, he added, most of them usually admit and pay an admission of guilt fine.
“What we then do is to seek disposal order from the Magistrate Court which allows us to burn and destroy all the products just to make sure they do not lend in the culprits’ hands again,” he added.
BOMU (Botswana Music Union) is in a battle of their own trying to prevent piracy of music productions.
Alfred Mosimanegape, a kwasa-kwasa musician, said they too are trying to prevent piracy of their products.
“All our products have a hollow gram, a sticker of which if we find someone with any of our CDs without that sticker, they may be arrested, according to the copyright laws,” he said. He further said that they look for these pirated CDs and DVDs both from those selling in the streets and in the shops and if one is found guilty, they are liable to a fine of P1 000 to P20 000 as a first offender and P30 000- P5 million as a second offender.”
Mosimanegape said home recording is allowed but if you now distribute it to your friends you can be charged.
“That is, you can record the CDs to use in your own private home but not to give it to two or more of your friends,” he added.
Tsaanang stated that Batswana are also involved in these cases, especially in marijuana cases because the illegal herb is widely used.