The drama packed case in which around P90 000 was robbed from the Botswana Railways offices in Francistown on 26 January 2006, branched off into another drama last week when a former railways engine man fingered the alleged robbery mastermind, Nametso Dipholo.
Bekithemba Majama, who was involved in the scam, gave evidence before Chief Magistrate Lorraine Makati Lesang saying that he decided to disclose evidence as a result of betrayal by his partners in crime, Nametso Dipholo and his friends, whom he could not recognize.
The witness disclosed that it all began when Majama and his friends, Vusi, Sylvester, Tono and Dingiswayo had set out on a mission to rob the Botswana Railways. Majama turned out to be a useful member since he had vital information as he was an employee of the Botswana Railways.
Majama told the court that he was telephoned by Vusi who kept on pestering him about the plan of the robbery. It happened that they went to Triple S Bar where they were to discuss their mission with the other assailants. Vusi came with a friend (Lenty) a welder by profession who was to assist in the robbery as he could cut safes open. Vusi went on to introduce another friend whom he presented as Dips (Namatso Dipholo).
Lenty and Vusi then quarreled over the addition of Nametso Dipholo and both withdrew from the plan and it flopped because Lenty knew him from before and did not like him.
After the flop on 28 December 2005, Dipholo phoned the witness about the plan and suggested that he had some friends in Gaborone who would help with the robbery since they were experienced. The witness and the accused, Nametso Dipholo, met on the evening of the day of the robbery and he was introduced to three strange men, wearing masks and who were driving a black car.
These were the men that Dipholo had referred to.
The gang decided to send Majama and one of the strangers to go and survey the railway offices where the robbery was suppose to take place, for safety reasons. They failed to get proper information as the police were patrolling.
Dipholo insisted that they break in after midnight. Majama, and the other man were asked to survey the offices again and this time it was safe for them to implement their plan.
“The man I was with decided to call Dipholo on a cell phone informing him that it was safe to continue with the mission. Dipholo and the other men arrived and they were in possession of cylinders that were to break the safe. They went into the foreman’s office and tied the foreman with a telephone cable and blind folded him with a woolen hat,” said the witness.
Majama went on to point out that Dipholo opened the small safe which he found in the office with a crow bar and the other men were busy opening a hole in the ceiling to access the main safe. The man failed to open the safe and Dipholo implored the witness to help open the safe but he also failed.
One of the man who was part of the robbery assisted and managed to open the safe and the money was shoved into a 12.5kg bag and part of the money was loaded in a trunk.
They all got into a vehicle and rushed to the Monarch location to find a suitable place to share the money. On the way to Monarch, Majama tried to enquire about part of the money that they had taken but Dipholo ignored him.
They all shared the money in which all the five men got P7 500 each and P10 000 was set aside. Dipholo mentioned that it was money that was to bribe one CID official to erase the finger prints if it occurred that they got arrested.
“The other undisclosed sum of money was hidden in a 12.5 kg bag by the other participants who were Dipholo’s friends. I never had a share of that,” said Majama.
Lenty, who had withdrawn from the robbery, came to Majama’s place the following morning as he had heard about the robbery and demanded that Majama should give him P3 000 or he would report the matter to the police. Lenty further threatened that if he did not give him the money, the police would reward him because he also needed the money urgently.
Majama had no option but give him the money. He felt enraged as the money he was left with was little and he decided to report the matter and hand himself to the police.
With all the controversy engulfing Nametso Dipholo during cross examination, he dismissed the witness’s testimony as a frame up and denied ever taking part in the robbery.