Three Bulgarian nationals believed to have been behind the First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) Automated Teller Machines (ATM) scams sighed with relief this week after a Village Magistrates court slapped them with P10 000 fines each.
The trio are said to have been part of a syndicate behind the ATM scams in which huge sums of money belonging to FNBB customers was stolen from multiple bank accounts since November last year.
After a successful arrest by a team of Botswana Police and Botswana Defence Force officers, following a tip off, the suspects were found in possession of computers and devices believed to have been used in their operations.
The suspects Plamen Nikolaev Pandor (44), Dimitar Borislavov Angelou (36) and a woman Liliya Nikolaeva Borisova (26), were convicted of three counts of unauthorised access to a computer service, unlawful importation of computer devices and unlawful possession of computer devices.
They were found guilty and fined P10 000 each by Village Principal Magistrate Goodwill Makofi.
When handing down the ruling, Makofi said the offences carried a punishable fine not exceeding P20 000 and imprisonment not exceeding a year.
He also took into consideration that the accused were first time offenders and that the accused woman has a toddler back in her country.
They were ordered to either pay the fine within seven days or face a three-months jail term.
“They might have come here as tourists and found themselves stranded hence being tempted to commit this cyber crime. The accused pleaded guilty to all the offences which show remorse and willing to take responsibility for their actions. Botswana welcomes all tourists who mean well but not those who cripple its economy and steal people’s hard earned money. Those who betray our trust, abuse our hospitality will only blame themselves for stiff penalties,” said Makofi.