By Staff Reporter
TWO Zimbabwe Republic Police constables who were arrested and later acquitted on alleged theft in Francistown, Botswana early this month, want to sue the neighbouring country’s Attorney General for unlawful arrest and detention.
Tapiwa Mugabe (30) and Kenneth Chabaya (28) were on June 3 this year found in possession of 20 batteries at the Dumela Industrial Site in Francistown.
The police claimed in court that the batteries belonged to a local telecommunications service provider – Mascom and the two cops were remanded in custody facing theft charges.
Mugabe and Chabaya, however, told the court they bought the batteries in Zimbabwe and were arrested on the way back to Zimbabwe with the goods.
The two also failed to produce receipts for the batteries or proof of declaring them at the Zimbabwe-Botswana border post on entry into the country.
Further investigations by the Botswana police and Interpol revealed that the arrested cops had purchased the batteries in Plumtree, Zimbabwe leading to their acquittal last week by Magistrate Lebogang Kebeetsweng.
But, the batteries were confiscated and the pair was fined by the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) for failing to declare the batteries on their entry into Botswana.
However, through their lawyer, Morgan Moseki, the two police officers said the charges and their detention were ‘bogus’.
“The charge against my clients is bogus. It was wrong for the police to have detained them for such a long time,” said Moseki.
The lawyer added that the duo’s prolonged detention could lead to their dismissal from work upon returning to Zimbabwe before threatening to sue the Attorney General for unlawful detention and malicious prosecution of his clients.
“I know that the State is withdrawing the charges against the accused, but the accused were persecuted by those who were supposed to protect them,” said Moseki.
Batteries in Botswana are sold as scrap metal and attract high prices before they are sold to a more lucrative market in South Africa.