Tough tusk

Christinah Motlhabane
FINED: Lotlegang is free to go, providing he can pay, RELIEVED: Meshack leaving court

‘Elephant tusk’ duo free to go…if they can pay P50, 000!

Two Francistown men found guilty of possessing elephant tusks will avoid going to jail, providing they can pay the P50, 000 fines the Magistrate imposed on them.

Omphithetse Meshack and Percy Lotlegang have 30 days to stump up the cash. Failure to do so will see them locked up for two years.

The duo were convicted on two counts after they were caught with an elephant tusk and 21 tusk pieces in their car at Ntote Complex in Francistown on 9 May 2019.

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The ivory had a combined value of close to P18, 000.

Begging for mercy before sentencing was passed, Meshack told court the matter had ruined his marriage, as his wife moved out of their matrimonial home waiting for the case to finish.

“I had a church with many youths that I assist and since this case I have closed the church. I hear some of the youth I helped are now on drugs and that another has been raped. I believe all this happened because of me!” declared the remorseful sounding Meshack, adding he was a first-time offender who had learnt a painful lesson.

“Five years in this matter I have lost many job opportunities. Also my mother is sickly; she survives on farming, which I assist her with. So sending me to prison will affect her,” he continued.

Singing a similar tale of misfortune, Meshack’s co-accused, Lotlegang, revealed he had lost his job because of this matter.

He further told court he was the bread-winner for his children and, like Meshack, his mother was also ill.

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“My worship, if you send me to prison it will deeply affect my children. I plead that I be given a lenient sentence,” Lotlegang said.

Their words paid off, as the Magistrate saw fit to spare their freedom, on condition they pay up within a month.

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