20 January 2019


Botswana fraudster remanded in custody

by: Obakeng Maje   date: 29 January 2018

Fraud convict, Daniel Smit, has been remanded in custody for failing to pay his victims R4.4million by the 11th of January. The North West High Court in Mahikeng had in December ordered Smit to pay this amount to the people he defrauded. 
The 49-year-old Botswana national was found guilty and convicted of four counts of fraud totalling R6 887 820 on 11 December last year. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, with an option that he pays all of his victims the money he owes by 15 January 2018 to avoid a jail term.
Smit would approach unsuspecting cattle farm owners and purchased cattle and fodder from them, using cheque as a method of payment. The farmers he purchased from would discover at a later stage that the cheques have bounced and they have been defrauded.
On Monday the court postponed Smit’s case to 9 February 2018. Regional spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Frank Lesenyego, said though Smit lives in Botswana, he does business mostly in Bokone Bophirima.
“Smit defrauded farmers in the North West area as well as a family member, who practises as a medical doctor in Canada.  The accused committed the crimes mainly by taking possession of cattle and maize without paying, receiving money to purchase cattle on behalf of complainants and failing to purchase the cattle and failing to return their money.
“Smit was sentenced to undergo 10 years imprisonment, which was wholly suspended on the conditions that he repays the complainants, Jan Le Roux, Gerhard Meyer, Johan Schikerling and Basie Spies a total amount of R4 400 000 on or before 11 January 2018. He should not be convicted of fraud, theft or any other crime involving an element of dishonesty committed during the five year period,” he said.
Lesenyego added that Smit’s wife, Cornelia Elizabeth Steinberg-Smit was initially charged with him, but charges against her were withdrawn as Smit pleaded guilty.
Judge Samkelo Gura said: “On the 11th of December 2017, Mr Smit appeared before this court and he was convicted on several counts of fraud and sentence was imposed on him accordingly. All these amounts had to be paid to the four different complainants by the 11th of January 2018.  On the 15th of January 2018, the accused appeared before court that was during recess. 
 “The Judge who heard this matter on the 15th of January 2018 directed that the accused must be retained in custody until today.  I am faced with the application by the state to commit the accused to jail for his failure to comply with the court order directing him to pay R4.4m by the 11th of January 2018,” Gura said.
Smit was given until Friday next week when his legal representative would be available. Judge Gura said if the court refuses the postponement, the implications of that decision could be that Smit would have to start serving the 10-year imprisonment with immediate effect.