Busted in the bush

Christinah Motlhabane
BULKY: The tusk found on Seipato

‘Big bulge’ turns out to be elephant tusk

A man caught with a single elephant tusk during an unexpected run-in with the police in the bush two years ago will learn his fate next Thursday.

Although he tried to hide the offending item beneath his jacket during his unplanned encounter with the cops, the big bulge gave Gaosego Emang Seipato away.

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The 35-year-old met his downfall on 3 May 2019, when he was rumbled by a police patrol who were actually on the lookout for illegal gold miners in the bushes between Matshelagabedi and BDF training centre on the outskirts of Francistown.

Upon spotting the boys in blue, the Mmadinare man bolted.

A short chase ensued and Seipato was swiftly caught. It quickly became apparent the runaway man had something bulky hidden under his clothes, which lab tests later confirmed was an elephant tusk weighing 52.15 kg.

Seipato has since pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a government trophy.

In fact, during mitigation before Francistown Magistrates Court on Tuesday, he claimed he had been planning to hand the tusk into the police but panicked when he saw the patrolling officers.

“I am really sorry for being found in possession of the tusk and as a first time offender I deeply regret what I did. I plead with this court to temper justice with mercy when sentencing me; at least the sentence be a fine, not meaning that I have money my worship,” he stated nervously, adding that he is a bread-winner looking after two children.

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“If you sentence me to a jail term my worship I might lose the tenders I am surviving on and I have two children I am taking care of. I am a Motswana who loves his government and also have learnt from his mistake, so I pray that this court be reasonable when sentencing me,” begged Seipato, who is currently out on bail.

With sentencing set for 23 September, he will not have to wait long to find out if his words will be enough to save him from a spell in the slammer.

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