On Friday last week, Francistown Principal Magistrate, Dumisani Basupi convicted a 24 year old woman, Veronica Keitebetse for obtaining P97 000 from National Development Bank(NDB) through false pretences.
According to court documents, on or about the 11th of October 2011, in Francistown, the accused knowingly and fraudulently presented false documents before National Development Bank officers in Francistown in order to secure an agricultural loan amounting to P97 000. The false documents include among others, land certificate, First National Bank statement, salary advice slip and confirmation letter.
With no suspicion, NDB approved her loan and the money was deposited into her account sometime in January 2012. It was later realised by the bank management after the money was deposited into her account that her documents were not genuine and the matter was reported to the police. She was then later arrested.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the offence.
┬áGiving unsworn evidence in court during trial, the accused denied ever acquiring money from the bank. She further said that she never benefited from the said amount. However her FNB Bank statement which was produced before court as evidence shows that P97 000 was deposited into her bank from NDB and the money was withdrawn from her account at different time intervals.
Various false documents which were used during the proposal of the loan were also tendered as evidence before court. The documents bear her details including her names and signatures. The accused however failed to distance herself from the documents during cross examination maintaining that she did not apply for the loan and does not know anything about the said money.
Delivering Judgment on Friday, Magistrate Basupi said that there is no doubt that the money was deposited into the accused FNB bank account.
┬á“All evidence points to the accused. Her denial is simply showing that she is trying to distance herself away from the offence. An amount of P97 000 is excessive. It is highly improbable that the bank would issue such an amount of money to a fictitious person,” magistrate Basupi said.
The magistrate said it is was shocking to note that the accused was distancing herself from the crime and at the same time failing to explain the signatures and other details linking her with the documents.
“The documents bear her details and signatures. There is even the copy of her identity card. What really amazes me is the fact that she is denying the offence and at the same time she is failing to explain why the documents are pointing at her,” she said.
“The FNB Bank statement shows that on the 17th of January, 2012, P20 000 and P40 000 were withdrawn from the accused account. I do not believe there is someone who withdrew these amounts on her behalf. By the accused saying that she does know about the offence, I feel that it is an afterthought to mislead this court,” added the magistrate.
Magistrate Basupi said that the evidence against the accused is overwhelming. The state had called six witnesses.
“I find that the state has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt with a well presentation of documentation. The accused is found guilty as charged,” he said. The prosecution however pleaded with the court to afford them time in order to establish if the accused has any previous convictions.
The accused will be sentenced on January 30, 2015. Gasemotho Pitlagano from the DPP is prosecuting while the accused is represented by Wabuya Jeremia from Jeremia Attorneys.