This surfaced after Extension II magistrate, Abigail Masawi persuaded the Directorate of Public Prosecution to investigate whether the ETDs in question were genuine as the prosecution opposed bail citing that the accused were illegal immigrants.
The three men, Bekezele Ncube, Leader Ndebe and Kgololesego Bhebhe are accused of stealing goods worth more than P500 000 belonging to Mack Collen at Mokolodi Game Reserve last year.
The defense lawyer, Enock Mazonde had argued that the accused persons were not a flight risk because they were not illegal immigrants.
Magistrate Masawi then ordered the prosecution to investigate the ETDs that were in the hands of the lawyer.
Detective Sergeant Malepa Orekeng of the Botswana Police told the court that according to Zimbabwe Embassy officials the documents were genuine.
However, he said the ETDs were obtained under mysterious circumstances. He then revealed to the court that the officials confirmed that the document can only be issued when the person applying for it presents themselves in person.
He said according to the investigations the ETDs were issued when the accused were still remanded in custody pointing to some irregularity in the issuance of the documents.
He said Bhebe was also treated as an illegal immigrant as he failed to produce an identity card after claiming to be a Motswana citizen from Mastsiloje.
Orekeng told the court during cross examination that he would oppose their bail application because he still regarded them as illegal immigrants. He said he smelled a rat in the ETD issuance issue and the only person who knew how the documents were obtained was Mazonde. He further told the court that their documents expired while they were still in custody.
Orekeng said the accused persons were arrested on August 2 this year after they were found in possession of goods they had stolen. He said according to the arresting officer the accused who were armed with rifles spent two days at the scene of the crime before they robbed the occupants of the house.
Mazonde had asked the court to grant them bail because one of the accused was staying with his mother in Old Naledi while another one had a girlfriend in Gabane.
The magistrate further remanded the accused on bail pending a ruling to be passed on November 10.