Thursday, July 7, 2022

Judge’s wife narrates how she was “swindled” by false prophets

The wife of Court of Appeal Justice Stephen Gaongalelwe has narrated how she fell victim to conmen who had promised to double her cash. Keipone Gaongalelwe states in court papers that her ordeal started on 24 January 2013 when she went to Kanye Mall to withdraw some money to pay builders. When she was about to leave and drive away, a young man of about 30 years approached her and started to speak to her and someone whom she does not know.

She says the young man asked her if she knew a certain Mr Baitse who was an ex-soldier and now bound to a wheel chair. She said she told the young man that she did not know Baitse he was referring to.

While she was still talking to the same young man another man in his early 40s came to where they were. He was drawn to their conversation and claimed to know Baitse. He volunteered information that he knew Baitse and they worked together as soldiers and later was running a business in Lobatse. The two men, said Gaongalelwe, pretended not to know each other.

She said after Thapelo told her of his prophetic skills, they agreed to go together with him and the other man.

“We drove in my car to the graveyard in the western direction of the village. I was with Karabo in front and Thapelo was at the back. When at the graveyard, the bogus prophet said I had a lot of enemies who wanted to see me dead. He said I have projects in Gaborone and the other one in Kanye which will not succeed,” she said. She said Thapelo also told the other man that his relatives in Serowe wanted to kill him so that they can remain with his business.

“The prophet told me that he was going to show me my enemies in the mirror which he had that day. He told us to come the next day to see our enemies in the mirror. I was curious because then I believed what he told me. We drove back to Kanye and I dropped them off by the mall. We arranged to meet the next day,” she said.

She said the next day she picked the two men up and drove to a hill in Moshupa. She said while she was praying a voice came from somewhere and talked to her and claimed to be her ancestors.  The voice told her that she was planning to invest in property. 

“The bogus ancestors told me to withdraw the sum of P250┬á000 and hand it to Thapelo for blessing and reassured me that it will be returned to me and I believed it. Later Karabo told me that he was also to go to Gaborone to withdraw the same amount,” said Gaongalelwe.

She added that “I went to the bank to request for the money to be released the next day.”┬á

“I picked up Karabo at Mathethe junction and Thapelo around the same area. We drove towards Ranaka direction and turned towards Old Police College and into the dust roads in the bush. Karabo put his parcel in a container and I also put two envelopes with money into the same container. Thapelo locked the container; gave me one key and gave Karabo the container with money for safe keeping bringing it back the next day,” said Gaongalelwe.┬á She said the next day Thapelo called saying the ancestors demanded another P125┬á000 from her.

“Then something all of a sudden clicked, I became suspicious and realised that I have been cheated. This is also after seeing the Itshereletse program on TV carrying a similar story. I phoned Thapelo that I have changed my mind,” she said.

“Accused person number one being Lame Simako confirmed that he called himself Thapelo which he admitted was a false name. Isaac Phiri who had falsely given me his name as Karabo was not present at the time. He told me that their intentions was to swindle me of the said amount of money which was P250┬á000 but not to bless it,” she said. ┬á

Justice Terrence Rannowane agreed with Gaongalelwe’s lawyers that Simako and Phiri are indebted to her money in the sum of P250┬á000 together with interest.

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