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Judge berates prosecutors as bailed suspects flee

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Suspected human traffickers skip bail
ON THE RUN: Suspected human traffickers

Emotions flew high at the Francistown High Court last week, as Judge Bashi Moesi lambasted the prosecution for negligence in a case in which three Malawian human trafficking suspects are suspected to have fled the country while on bail.

John Mayodi, Enock Nkatha and Gaston Kamanga were arrested at Botswana’s Kazungula border with Zambia on July 11, 2016 with five people suspected to have been trafficked from Malawi en route to South Africa.

The trio then applied for a no case to answer but the court ruled that they did have a case to answer.

The accused Malawian men subsequently made an urgent bail application early this year.

Judge Moesi then granted them bail with strict conditions; one of them being that they report to Tatitown Police station and that the state could apply for electronic tagging to monitor their movements.

About two weeks back, the court was hit with a panic attack when the accused absconded from court.

Their bail was revoked with immediate effect and a warrant of arrest was then issued against the accused.

On Tuesday it became official that the accused had fled as they did not attend court and their sureties told court that they did not know of their whereabouts.

Judge Moesi then issued a directive to the registrar to establish why relevant agencies did not investigate when three Malawian Human trafficking suspects failed to honor their bail conditions as scheduled.

Justice Moesi who had granted the accused bail despite the state’s fears, did not stomach the response too well as he started to punch loop holes in the police and prosecutions’ dedications towards their duty.

He said that the matter troubled him a great deal because he had earlier issued an order that the accused should report to Tatitown Police station but they never did so except for Kamanga, and no one ever noticed or felt the need to update the court.

He said that the matter was a great concern to the public. “There was never any indication to court that there was a breach, how did we arrive to where we are? It is in public interest to know what happened and let’s not be technical about it,” Moesi charged.

He said it comes as a surprise that strict bail conditions were set and the concerned authorities responded reluctantly to that.

The Judge said that this was a clear sign of negligence of duty from the relevant agencies.

He then asked state prosecutor, Alfred Tlhowe to update him on when the accused reported to Tatitown Police Station.

In response,Tlhowe said there were no records of that particular information at the station.

Moesi then said that this is a matter in which the prosecutor should be probing to find out what happened. “There are concerns that courts grant bail for serious offences without concerns for the public.”

However, the judge said it was about time someone set the record straight because the same state agents who are pointing fingers at courts are the ones who are failing to play ball.

Last week when The Voice contacted Tatitown Station Commander, Seanokeng Nkau to enquire if the accused had been reporting to her station she said she never heard of them.