Saturday, September 19, 2020

Investigative report on extra-judicial killing of 4 foreigners goes missing

An investigative report into the brutal killing of four foreign suspected armed robbers by Botswana security agents has gone missing somewhere between the office of the Botswana Police Service and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Police Commissioner, Thebeyame Tsimako, said last week that they had finished investigations into the killing and forwarded a report to the DPP.

Director of DPP, Leatile Dambe has, however, denied ever receiving such a report. “I know nothing about such a report. It is the first time that I hear about it,” she said, further promising to make follow ups to check if such a report exists.

The quartet. James Sibanda, Christopher Mwale, Hillary Anuza Banda and Sylvester Manzvanzvike were slain by security agents three years ago on suspicions that they were planning to rob Broadhurst Motors.

James Sibanda was by then holding a Malawian passport. Botswana Police Service Criminal Record Bureau on the other hand identified him as Eric Mpofu, a South African national who was wanted in Botswana for allegedly masterminding a total of eleven car-jackings between 2001 and 2004, and an additional case of murder.

Christopher Mwale, who was also carrying a Malawian passport, was identified by the Criminal Bureau Records as Faison Mtambo of Harare, Zimbabwe.

Also carrying a Malawian passport was Hillary Anuza Banda, whom the Criminal Bureau Records identified as Zimbabwean national Evidence Mbaiwa of Kadoma, Zimbabwe. He was allegedly wanted for an armed robbery case that took place in January 2000.

The fourth victim, Sylvester Manzvanzvike was carrying a Zimbabwe emergency travelling document. The Criminal Bureau Records, however, identified him as Vodka Japawu of Kwekwe. He was convicted for theft common in December 2002. The other unidentified suspect had escaped in a silver grey BMW.

Tsimako insists that they have long sent a report to the DPP, but could not give the exact date when it was sent. The report, said Tsimako, was meant to guide the DPP in determining whether the police officers who allegedly shot the suspected robbers could be charged with any offence. The incident took place while Edwin Batshu was still commissioner.

In his state of the nation address, President Ian Khama Seretse Khama recently reassured the nation that cases where there are allegations of abuse by security agents will be investigated and appropriate action taken afterwards.

The police are currently investigating 10 cases involving the fatal shooting of criminal suspects.

The reports’ findings will afterwards be sent to DPP to determine if there is need for prosecution. Amongst those killed are three Zimbabweans who were shot dead after they allegedly robbed a supermarket in Francistown of some undisclosed amount of money.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.