Who is fooling who?

IN COURT: Thato Jonathan and Otlaarongwa Mbwe

*Court fines teenager P500 for stolen phone

A Maun teen mother was this week brought before Maun Customary Court to answer for a single count of theft after she allegedly stole a mobile phone from a man whom she claimed had failed to pay for commercial sex services provided.

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Thato Jonathan told court that she did not steal the phone as reported to the police by Otlaarongwa Mbwe but rather took it as payment after he failed to pay for their “special arrangement” two weeks ago.

According to the police charge, the two, together with another person not before court, went out to have fun on September 11th at one of the local entertainment centres, “The accused (Jonathan) remained in the car while the other two went in to buy some drinks and, when they returned, they found her gone and the mobile phone, a Samsung A10, missing.”

Mbwe is said to have made a call to Jonathan, who allegedly said she took it with her for safe-keeping, “Instead of returning it as she promised, she then removed its pouch, screen protector, memory card and simcard, all worth P510,” the police read out the charge in court.

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Although she pleaded guilty, Jonathan was adamant that she took the phone as compensation for the unpaid sex she had provided.

Asked outside court to explain this special arrangement, Jonathan said, “That night, I went out with him on agreement that he will pay me P500 for sex. He then came with two other men and they all had their turn having sex with me. That was not part of the initial agreement and, when I asked him to give me the money, he refused.”

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Jonathan said after she fled with the phone, Mbwe and his friends kept threatening her and telling her that they would expose her on social media and report her to the police, “I ignored them and then they published me on social media as a wanted thief and reported me to the police. After that, some of them called me and asked for sex so that they could drop the case.”

Jonathan recorded the above allegations in her police statement even though in court prosecution only described it as a “special arrangement.”

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Asked to mitigate before sentence, Jonathan said she was a mother struggling to raise a two-year-old on her own, “I stay with my sister in Maun and my parents stay at the cattle post. I was pregnant when I sat for my Form Three examinations and I am a single mother,” she pleaded.

Meanwhile, Mbwe flatly denied all the sexual transaction allegations made by Jonathan. “I can prove that she is not telling the truth because footage from where I parked my car shows that we parked there, and I went into the store leaving her in there. I did not touch her, we could not have done it right there in a public place. She is only trying to make up stories to save herself from being punished for her crime.”

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However, the court advised Mbwe that the issue of the special arrangement is neither here nor there as it is his word against hers and that the issue at hand was about a stolen phone for which Jonathan had pleaded guilty.

She was ordered to pay P510 as compensation to Mbwe.

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