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Bye-law officer faces jail time for P200 bribe

A Bye-Law officer accused of soliciting a P200 bribe in exchange for destroying a P1000 charge sheet five years ago will learn his fate on June 17th after the matter dragged on for five years.

Appearing in court last Friday for final submissions, the 49-year old Gabriel Setumba successfully made one final request for the court to allow him to file his written submission as opposed to oral submissions as he indicated in the previous mention.

“I would like to be given the last indulgence to file my written submissions. I do not understand some court procedures but I have learnt that I have an option to write as opposed to verbally presenting in court,” pleaded Setomba.

Proceeding with state submissions the Prosecutor, Ambrose Mubika, revealed that they have managed to prove all the essential elements in the matter.

“The state had to prove the identity of the accused and that he was a public official. The first prosecution witness Itumeleng Kelebetseng revealed that he received a call from the accused. He did not divulge any information besides that he wanted to see him. A Mascom wireless employee testified that it was Setomba’s number that called the complainant,” said Mubika.

According to Mubika the second element is that he was an employee of the council hence a public servant.

“It has been confirmed that he joined the public service on the 5th January 2004 as a Bye-law enforcement Assistant. At the time he received the bribe he was on official duty,” explained Mubika.

The state is convinced that although Setomba alleged that the P200 pula was a gift or lunch as he alluded in his contradicting statements it was actually a bribe.

“It couldn’t be anything else but a bribe. The accused person gave two contradictory statements as to why he received the money. To the investigating officer he said it was lunch money, in court he said he had secured a date from the complainant who was a stranger at the time. Clearly he was at pains to explain why he received that money,” added Mubika.

Setomba’s brush with law dates back to December 2016 when while on duty, he charged Lafoxy Bar owned by Boseja South Councilor Itumeleng Kelebetseng for breaching the Trade Act by operating beyond hours.

The following day, the Bye Law officer allegedly called the bar owner and set up a meeting at the bar.

Once there he reportedly asked for four bottles of beer but when Kelebetseng declined the request he suggested that he be given P200 instead.

Kelebetseng reported the matter to the DCEC who then set up an undercover operation.

The DCEC officer, Rapula Mogathane, gave Kelebetseng P200 pula to Setomba as bait.

As expected, Setomba was busted a few minutes after receiving the money and the same P200 which was given to Kelebetseng was found in his pocket together with his phone and a few coins.

Setomba has been ordered to file his submissions before May 27th and will appear for sentencing on 17 June17th.

If found guilty he is liable to a fine and a ten year prison sentence .