Botswana: Zimbabwean army imposter baffles courts

Botswana: Zimbabwean army imposter baffles courts

Prosecutors in Botswana have added five more charges to the sheet against an unidentified Zimbabwean immigrant.

Since his arrest in September 2015, the local police, their Zimbabwean counterparts and Interpol have failed to positively identify the man who gave his name as Michael Graduate Mutizwa.

The man was arrested in a village outside the capital Gaborone for the illegal possession of a pistol, handcuffs, two-way military communication radios and a ceremonial uniform of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA).

Since his arrest in September 2015, the local police, their Zimbabwean counterparts and Interpol have failed to positively identify the man who gave his name as Michael Graduate Mutizwa.

However, prosecutors and the Botswana police and prosecutors have engaged their Zimbabwean counterparts and discovered that while there is indeed a Michael Graduate Mutizwa in the country, the fingerprints on his record do not match those of the suspect detained in Gaborone.

The suspect, who arrived in Botswana around 2009, appeared at the Gaborone Magistrate’s Court on Thursday where prosecutors slapped him with him five new charges and remanded him in custody to September 14 for trial.

He now faces additional charges including three for obtaining Botswana residence permits by false pretence after giving false information to a public official. He also faces a single charge of obtaining a drivers’s licence by false pretence and another for fraudulent acquisition of the marriage certificate which he used to marry his Motswana wife.

In his plea, the suspect alleged that the police planted the pistol that was found in his home in order to find an excuse to arrest him.

However, the court ruled that he should remain in custody as he was a flight risk given that nobody in Botswana or his native Zimbabwe knew who he really was or where he was from.

The prosecution said a team would soon travel to Zimbabwe to interview the real Mutizwa in the hope that he could help unmask the mystery of the man detained in Gaborone.

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