THREE Victoria Falls men have appeared in court for allegedly illegally crossing into Botswana through an undesignated point.
Rostelle Ncube (40), Leon Dube (45), both of Mkhosana and Brighton Nowakhe (27) of Chinotimba were arrested after police found them hiding in a bush near the Pandamatenga Border with Botswana.
Police were on patrol following reports of people who were illegally crossing the border to buy groceries which they would smuggle into the country while others were going there to commit crime.
Ncube, Dube and Nowakhe pleaded not guilty to a charge of exiting through an ungazetted point of exit and another of entry through undesignated point of entry in terms of the Immigration Act.
They claimed that they intended to cross into Botswana but failed after seeing heavy police presence.
“I left Victoria Falls intending to cross to Batswana but we found that there were police who were patrolling on the Botswana side. We decided to go back as we wanted to wait until the police finished patrolling,” said Ncube, with the co-accused concurring.
Prosecuting, Mrs Sithabile Daka-Mungombe said police bust the three after tracking their footprints.
“On a date unknown to the prosecutor but between 21 August and 23 August 2020, the accused persons exited Zimbabwe to Botswana through an undesignated port of exit. On August 23, police from Pandamatenga were on patrol along the Zimbabwe-Botswana border when they spotted some footprints and tracked them. The footprints led to a bush where they found the accused resting about under a tree 200 metres away from the main road,” said Mrs Daka-Mungombe.
The court was told that police tracked the trio’s footprints from the border showing they were coming from the Botswana side.
It is suspected that Ncube, Dube and Nowakhe had smuggled some goods and hid them in the bush when they were found by police although they were not found in possession of anything.
The trio was arrested and taken to Budget Lodge quarantine centre in Victoria Falls, said the prosecutor.
Smugglers usually work with some transporters who would be directed to some hide-outs in the bush where smuggled goods will be hidden. chronicle