Friday, June 21, 2024

Co-accused in SSKA heist asks magistrate to recuse herself

The Village Magistrate Court Principal Magistrate, Ephraith Ndegwa has dismissed an application for recusal made by South African citizen, Skhumbuso Mlopsha, who is facing charges of robbery amounting to P5 million.

Magistrate Ndegwa said the application is frivolous and lacks grounds.
Mlopsha had said that he wanted Ndegwa to recuse herself from the case because she had shown that she would not give him a fair hearing.

Ndegwa, however, ordered that the trial should continue at a date still to be set despite Mlopsha’s insistence that he wants some documents, which were in the car when he was arrested in South Africa.

He said he needed those documents to prove his innocence as the documents would provide an alibi to the time when the armed robbery is alleged to have taken place.

Mlopsha maintains that the documents will prove that when the alleged robbery is reported to have taken place, he was in South Africa and not in Botswana, as is being alleged by the state.

Even outside the Court, he continued to maintain his innocence loudly and said that he was surprised that the Magistrate did not see sense in what he was saying about the missing documents.

“If I can get my hands on the documents that were in my car when I was arrested , I will prove my innocence and I am surprised that she is not seeing the sense in this,” protested Mlopsha, before he was led away to a waiting police car and driven back to jail.

Mlopsha is alleged to have robbed the cash transit van together with another South African citizen, Tebogo Mafisa, and Botswana citizen Jeremia Modise, who have all pleaded guilty to the crime and are serving 10 years imprisonment.

After being sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by outgoing Southern Regional Magistrate Lot Moroka, Mafisa had the court audience in stitches when he begged not to be sent to the same prison where his co-accused Modise is serving time.

Two other suspects, believed to be Mozambican citizens, are still at large.
The armed robbery, the biggest in the country in terms of money taken away, occurred at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in December 2006.

Investigators found part of the loot, P100 000, in Modise’s refrigerator at his Tlokweng home.


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