The case had attracted public interest, raising issues of mistrust against financial institutions.
Passing the sentence, Principal Magistrate Goodwill Makofi said the three accused Bulgarians, Plamen Nikolaev Pandor 44, Liliya Nikolaeva Borisova 26 and Dimitar Borislavov Angelou 36, were convicted of three counts, being unauthorised access to a computer service, unlawful importation of computer devices and unlawful possession of computer devices.
He said that each of the offences carries a punishable fine not exceeding P20,000 and imprisonment not exceeding one year. He however said that passing the sentence, he had taken into consideration that the accused persons were first offenders. Makofi went on to say that Borisova was a mother of a minor toddler aged three years who looks up to her for support and might have been confused all along with her mother in a foreign country.
“I have taken consideration that all of the accused persons pleaded guilty to the offence, showing remorse that they accept not to have done well and willing to take responsibility for indiscretion,” Makofi said.
He went on to state that he agreed with prosecution that offences of this nature posed economic threat to the country.
“I have noted that you are all from central Europe and no information has been presented for your presence here. You might have visited Botswana as tourists, or may be syndicates and have identified Botswana as a vulnerable country,
“This country and its people welcome people and tourists who comes here and they are willing to share the beauty of their country with the rest of the world but those who betray our trust, abuse our hospitality, take us for granted have themselves to blame when the court gives them stiff penalties. Botswana’s wealth is not up for grabs,” Makofi cautioned.On the first count, Makofi sentenced each of the accused persons to a fine of P3,000 or three months imprisonment for default of the payment. On second count, he sentenced each of the trio to a fine of P5,000 or three months imprisonment for default of payment. On the third count he sentenced each of the accused persons a fine of P2,000 or three months imprisonment for default of payment.
Makofi gave the accused seven days to have paid the fines, and that failure to pay shall result in imprisonment which shall start from the day of their incarceration.