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COVID-19 voice note lands man in jail

COVID-19 voice note lands man in jail
BACK TO JAIL: Kabelo (closest to camera)

Accused of posting false Coronavirus information on Social Media

A Semotswane man accused of posting false information about Covid-19 on social media has been languishing in prison for over a month.

The suspect, 35-year-old Tshepo Kabelo, appeared before Francistown Magistrates Court last Friday and was further remanded in custody.

Kabelo is said to have recorded and uploaded a voice note to Semotswane Village WhatsApp Group on 2 April.

The message, which was soon shared on Facebook and quickly went viral, claimed a person from Semotswane village had recently returned from South Africa displaying symptoms of Coronavirus.

The voice note went on to claim the person had already died and their burial was kept secret.

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Kabelo was arrested on April 7 and has been in jail since.

Requesting the accused be kept locked up, at least for now, Prosecutor Kenneth Edward told court that investigations were still on-going.

“We are awaiting records for evidence from the cell phone companies or service providers. We will consider giving him bail after lockdown,” said Edward.

The Prosecutor noted another reason for Kabelo to remain in jail is because President Mokgweetsi Masisi has ordered that people should not move around.

“We do not know the [Coronvirus] status of the accused and relatives where he is going to stay when granted bail. Relocating the accused might endanger him and his parents where he is to stay. We pray he be allowed to consider bail issues when lockdown will be finished to enable movements,” Edward concluded.

Pleading unsuccessfully for his freedom, the suspect, who is conducting his own defence, stressed there was no way he could interfere in investigations as his phones have been confiscated.

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He further said he was worried about losing his job as a shop assistant.

“I might open at work so I am scared I might lose my job. I promise not to run away, I will comply with the bail conditions,” promised Kabelo, whose plea was reserved.

However, his words failed to move the Magistrate, who ordered he be remanded in custody at least until lockdown is over.

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