“Your Worship, my client does not want to meet Jeremiah Modise.” This was a plea made before Gaborone Chief Magistrate, Lot Moroka, by Reuben Kamushinda, the lawyer representing Tebogo Masifa, a self-confessed South African-born armed robber who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for his part in the armed robbery of P5 million at the Gaborone International Airport two years ago.
His partner, Modise, is also currently serving ten years for the same robbery.
Asked by Moroka why he does not want to meet his accomplice, Masifa said that he did not know what would happen when they meet.
During his confession, Modise had similarly told the Court that he had, after sharing the spoils of the armed robbery in South Africa, opted to leave some money in that country with relatives because he did not trust his friends as they were capable of robbing him on his way to Botswana.
Moroka then issued an order that the two should not meet.
Modise has also confessed to having been the brains behind the armed robbery. Amongst other things he confessed to was that he had mounted a surveillance at the airport and that he had, on one occasion, warned his accomplices to “drop the mission” after realising that there was a heavy security presence at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.
Before being transported to Botswana two weeks ago, Masifa was jailed in a South African prison, along with another South African involved in the same robbery, after they appealed against a Magistrate order that they should be extradited.
After close to a year in jail awaiting appeal, Masifa apparently approached the South African authorities and told them that he would like to be transferred to Botswana.
Sentencing Masifa to ten years imprisonment, Moroka said that he appreciated the facts put before him by Kamushinda that, amongst other things, his client was a first offender, involved in several humanitarian projects, like caring for orphans, the destitute and AIDS projects in South Africa, and that he had always cooperated with the police who were investigating the matter and was remorseful.
In a closely related case, Moroka, on the same day, ordered the Officer in Charge of Maximum Security Prison to permit prisoner George Vigazo access to ARV medication.
Vigazo was extradited from South Africa to Botswana on the same day with Masifa, also for the same crime.