Sunday, April 21, 2024

Francistown murder case continues as accused try to pin the blame on each other

The high profile murder case involving former Mupane mine employees, Arnold Masango and Raymond Leshomo, continued last week after a year long hiatus during which the first accused refused representation from a number of local pro-deo lawyers, insisting that the state appoints renowned South African advocate Peter Hodes to represent him.

The case kicked off on Monday after Leshomo grudgingly accepted the services of Edward Mosate of Mosate Attorneys in Gaborone. The prosecution indicated that it intendeds to call 28 witnesses to the dock, including Leshomo’s confession statements, recorded by former District Commissioner Sylvia Muzila and Chief Magistrate Peter Mensah Acheampong.

But Leshomo found himself with his back against the wall on Thursday as he struggled to parry incessant attacks from Masango’s defense attorney, Benghame Sechele, and Chief State Counsel, Antoinette Kula.

It emerged during the cross examination that Masango and Leshomo hatched a plan to kill Lotering after a series of misunderstandings between the deceased and Leshomo.

After knocking off on the fateful Friday morning, Leshomo later snuck back into the mine in Masango’s land cruiser, without using his access card. The duo would later ambush Lottering and beat him to death with a jack winder. Lottering’s cell phone, bank cards and driver’s licence were later found at Leshomo’s house.
But he insists that Masango is the one who brought them there.The two are now trying to pin the blame on each other with Masango insisting that he was an innocent bystander in the murder while Leshomo maintains that he murdered Lottering after prodding from Masango whom he regarded as his mentor and superior.

Lottering’s May 2006 murder was described by the Francistown police as the most gruesome in the history of Francistown. In an act that sparked public outcry and protest, Justice Thomas Masuku granted Masango bail in August of the same year.

But he would later lose his freedom in late 2007 after being arrested in connection with the murder of his girlfriend, Masaitsiweng Dintweng, who was a teacher at Ramoja CJSS. At the time she was waiting to be drafted into the Botswana Defense Force as part of the first cadre of women recruits.

The Sunday Standard is informed that Masango and Dintweng had been cohabiting in a tumultuous relationship. After admission to the BDF, Dintweng decided to resign from teaching and prepared to don her army uniform to go for training. The objective of her visit to Ramokgwebana on September 10 in the company of Masango was to hand over the staff house keys and bid her colleagues farewell.

Before she could accomplish her mission, she was suddenly hit by an inexplicable bout of vomiting, allegedly after drinking some juice that Masango had given her. Sources close to the family say after being told that Dintweng was not feeling well they asked Masango to take her to the hospital. They, however, became suspicious when Masango gave family members different accounts of his whereabouts when they repeatedly phoned to get an update on Dintweng’s condition.

”For example, he would tell one family member that he was on the way to the hospital; tell another one that he was pouring petrol and tell yet another one that he did not have enough money to buy petrol to take Masa to the hospital,” said a friend of the family. But eventually Masango did arrive at Masunga hospital with the ailing Dintweng who was later pronounced dead.

Officer Commanding Number 15 District Senior Superintendent Foreman Baganetswe said at the time that Masango had handed himself over to the police and that they were holding him in custody pending investigations into what they suspect was a poisoning incident.

A close family member revealed that Masango actually disappeared after handing Dintweng to the hospital authorities.


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