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BOCRIJA, Police run anti-piracy campaigns

Yvonne Mooka

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Vendors in Gaborone selling pirated material from local artists will soon come face to face with law enforcement agencies as an ongoing campaign to cease the transgression continues.

Botswana Criminal Justice Association (BOCRIJA) board member Lerunne Moremi informed The Midweek Sun that the operation, which started in 2017, is sponsored by Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA).

He said Phase 1 of the project was in Selibe-Phikwe and Kasane last year and that Kanye and Gaborone are in Phase 2 of the exercise. In December, Phase 2 began in earnest as BOCRIJA partnered with Botswana Police Service, District Law Enforcement and Kanye creatives to collect pirated CDs and DVDs from individuals and companies selling them in the village.

The campaign started from Sejelo Police to Choppies BG Mall. Phase 3 will be undertaken in Maun and Gantsi later this year. “Our artistes are suffering because some people out there copy their works and sell them. We are shocked that even some big retailer brands buy and sell pirated music,” he said.

Piracy is defined as illegally reproducing any copyrighted work. It refers to copying, distributing, selling, and lending of the works without the permission of the owner. Botswana has a robust Copyright Law which aims to combat any sort of copyright infringement.

The Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, which is administered by CIPA protects such works as literary and artistic works, dramatic works, musical works, audio-visual works, architecture, photography, paintings and sculptures. Works are protected by the sole fact of their creation, and no registration is required. However, CIPA encourages creators of works to deposit a sample of the work with them in order to create evidence of ownership.

In the case of audio-visuals and sound recordings, the Copyright Act states that before they are sold they must have a security device (hologram) affixed to them. Holograms are sold at CIPA for P0.30 each, and provide a means of distinguishing between pirated and non-pirated works.

Copyright infringement attracts penalties of up to P20, 000 or 10 years in prison, or both upon conviction, depending on the severity of the case.The owners of the works being infringed are also allowed by law to take civil action against the perpetrators in order to claim back lost revenue.

Meanwhile, BOCRIJA executive director Ronald Ntebela said that the NGO which started in 2013, fights all forms of injustice such as alcohol and drug abuse, human trafficking, among many others. He said that they were going to embark on another operation called ‘Mopagamibua’ under which they will be asking passengers to speak about their trips. “Majority of fatalities are passengers and sometimes you’ll realise that someone dies because the driver was drinking and driving or over-speeding,” he said.

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Boko has failed his constituency – Mokgethi

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THROWING SALVO: Anna Mokgethi vows to turn around the fortunes of Gaborone Bonnington North

Botswana Democratic Party Parliamentary hopeful for Gaborone Bonnington North Annah Mokgethi says area Member of Parliament failed to utilise the P10million constituency Development Fund to develop the constituency.

Every year government allocates P10 million to each of the 57 constituencies for developments under the ministry of local government and rural development and councils coordinate the projects. Mokgethi told the media in Gaborone on Tuesday that UDC president who is also area MP, Duma Boko was supposed to have pushed for projects to be done in the constituency.“As we speak there is nothing but the constituency has been having an MP and councillors in the past five years. “Crime is high in the area because there are no streetlights in most of our roads. Our people are attacked under the cover of darkness. Our roads are still dusty but you take our neighbouring constituencies they have paved the roads using these funds.

“We are behind because our MP has neglected the constituency ever since he was voted into office. There is nothing that he can show as a development he advocated for under the fund,” she said.
Mokgethi, a lawyer by profession, will be launched this coming Sunday by President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Since its inception in 2017 the fund has been marred by controversy as MPs argued that they are not being taken on board in the projects.Vice President Slumber Tsogwane who at the time was local government minister, said it was wrong for council secretaries to snub MPs when councils consult residents on developments to do with the fund.

Mokgethi told the media that representation is about service. She said she is willing to represent the people of Bonnington North. “The people of this constituency are yearning for representation. They need a representative who will have enough time on his/her hands to attend to their needs and interests. Someone who will have an ear inclined to their needs,” she stated.

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BEAUTY WITH STAINS

Keletso Thobega

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BEAUTIFUL BETRAYAL: Many did not believe Mhotsha could commit such a heinous crime

Broadhurst Magistrate Court came to a near standstill this past Friday when Lebogang Mhotsha appeared for mention on a conspiracy to robbery case.

Sporting a spiral braided hairstyle, the 30-year-old, who looked exhausted and agitated, turned heads with her pretty face with many in the crowd peering at her and commenting on how unfortunate it was for such a beautiful young woman to be implicated in a crime of such magnitude, where blood had been spilled.

There was a heavy presence of police officers, soldiers, DIS and members from Interpol in the court that was so packed that one had to take gulps of breath to avoid suffocating. All eyes were on Mhotsi, who unflinchingly stared ahead as the brief court proceedings got underway. Details presented before court are that Mhotsha of Mogoditshane is implicated in a conspiracy to robbery following the death of three Batswana men in South Africa on the 26 July 2019.

It is said that the victims were robbed of P350, 000, ten thousand US dollars and a Samsung J72 cell phone. The deceased men were part of a team of seven Batswana headed to Durban to purchase vehicles. They were attacked along the Swartruggens road in the North West area between Mafikeng and Rustenburg by six men who robbed them at gunpoint and made off with the money. The prosecutor in the case asked the court to give them an opportunity to complete their investigations, adding that they also want to engage Interpol to assist them.

Magistrate Tshepo Thedi remanded the accused in jail pending further investigation. Mhotsha will appear in court again on 22 August 2019 together with two other accused. Botswana and South African police jointly launched investigations into the matter to establish the circumstances that led to the incident. So far, preliminary investigations have revealed that the robbery was an act of conspiracy between the suspect, Mhotsha as well as local and South African associates.

The case gets more interesting as more accused come out of hiding. This past weekend a confession was extracted from two other suspects, Poloko Seduke and Kefilwe Ramoitoi both aged 38. The duo subsequently appeared before court on Monday facing the same charge of conspiracy to robbery. Although investigations are still ongoing to piece together the puzzles in this case, it is widely believed that the three accused are part of a bigger crime syndicate operating between Botswana and South Africa that targets Batswana who travel to Durban to buy cars.

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