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Prosecution to ammend Motlhabane’s charges

CHARGE SHEET CHANGES: Prosecutors to amend charges for Motlhabane, Dikologang, and Basupi

Prosecution was on Tuesday expected to amend Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) spokesperson, Justice Motlhabane’s charge sheet but did not mention what they wanted to add or subtract.

36- year- old Motlhabane and his co-accused, Oratile Dikologang (24) and Letsogile Barupi, 28 are facing four counts of publishing false statements with intention to deceive persons about COVID-19 infection and the use of offensive electronic communication.

It is alleged in court documents that on or about the 6th of April, 2020 acting together in concert the trio published a statement through social media via Facebook page, Botswana Trending News titled: Breaking: “Masisi to pay BDP MPs P12 million each so that they can support State of Emergency.”

The article is said to have been written with the intention to deceive its readers and any other person of the real intentions and measures taken by the government to address COVID-19.

On the second count, it is alleged the three on the 6th of April published an article titled: ‘Possible war looming in Botswana as Masisi forces to implement State of Emergency’.

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It is alleged the publication was made with the intention to deceive its readers or any other person of the real intentions and measures taken by the government to address COVID-19.

On another count the accused persons on the 22nd of March allegedly published an article on Botswana Trending News Facebook page titled: ‘Botswana hiding Corona Virus cases to avoid causing unrest amongst the citizens.’

The article is said to be offensive in nature and was not intended for any legitimate communication, thereby disturbing the quite of the society.

On the fourth charge it is alleged on the 25th of January the three acting together in concert, willfully and maliciously used electronic communication via Facebook Page, ‘Botswana Trending News and published a post with the heading: DCEC boss living in fear as the DISS plan to eliminate the P100 billion mastermind.’

This communication is said to have been offensive in nature and was not intended for any legitimate communication thereby disturbing the peace and quiet of Jako Hubona.

Giving status update on the matter last Tuesday, Mbongwe from the DPP told court that they are intending to amend the charge sheet in the next mention.

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Gaborone Regional Magistrate, Goodwill Makofi also mentioned that he will no longer continue with the case and another magistrate will be presiding in the next mention.

This case was called for Case Management Conference in the previous mention and now it will not happen as the defence counsel is waiting for the new charge sheet.

Defence Counsel Unoda Mack said there was no progress in the case since it was postponed thrice.

First the magistrate had a meeting with Chief Justice, then the prosecutor was not well and now prosecution want to make some changes on the charges.
He said he was waiting for the new charge sheet to prepare for the next mention.

The next status update was scheduled for 26th January 26th, 2021.

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