Friday, September 18, 2020

Kalafatis, Setlampoloka murder investigations complete

Police investigations into the murder of John Kalafatis and the mysterious death of Italy Setlampoloka have finally been completed, and the dockets have finally been handed over to the Department of Public Prosecutions to determine if there are any grounds for prosecution.

This was revealed by the Commissioner of Police, Thebeyame Tsimako, last week in a meeting with the Editors Forum at Police Headquarters in Gaborone.

Kalafatis and Setlampoloka died under mysterious circumstances, at the height of public complaints that extra judicial killings and incidents of police brutality had reached soaring heights. Members of the public, the legal fraternity and civic and political leaders have been baying for the reports on the investigations to be released, saying that the perpetrators should be brought to book.

In what is widely regarded as the most gruesome act of brutality on the part of Botswana’ security agents, Kalafatis was gunned down mafia style earlier this year, in the full glare of the public and in broad daylight. His death caused an uproar in the country, with civic and political leaders and members of the public calling for those responsible for his death to be brought to book.

After it emerged that the lead investigator in the case, Detective Assistant Superintendent Justice Monyere, had wrapped up investigations and handed the docket to Deputy Police Commissioner Kenny Kapinga, attorney Dick Bayford, acting for the Kalafatis family, immediately called upon the commissioner to hand it over to the DPP.

Bayford also said that Kapinga should not have been handed the docket as he is not the one to decide if prosecution should continue or not. He promised to work with the DPP in the event that they decide to prosecute Kalafatis’ killers. He also revealed that the Kalafatis family had instructed him, together with human rights lawyer Duma Boko, to prosecute privately if the DPP decides not to bring John Kalafatis’ killers to book.

Italy Setlampoloka, 29, also died mysteriously after he was arrested and later allegedly tortured by the police.

He was found dead on July 30, a day after being arrested by police officers, amid allegations that security agents had tortured him to death and tried to stage a suicide.

A total of 14 security agents, who were reportedly last seen with him, were rounded up to aid the investigations.

Reports indicate that the officers were pooled from a number of stations around the city, among them Braodhurst, Mogoditshane, G-West, SSKA and Naledi police stations.

At the height of the investigations, allegations ran thick and fast that the senior officers in charge of the internal investigations, Senior Superintendent Mosalagae Moseki, Assistant Commissioner Milton Mapange and Assistant Commissioner Kabo Marage were facing pressure from their superiors to tone down their investigations so that the police officers could walk.

It is also alleged that numerous efforts to have the suspected police officers arraigned before court, over suspicions that they were interfering with investigations, also bore no fruit.

During the investigations the police van that was allegedly used to ferry Setlampoloka’s lifeless body from the torture chambers to the Gabane farmlands, where the suicide was to be staged, was also dismantled in search of forensic evidence. The uniforms that the said officers were wearing at the time were also confiscated for forensic analysis.

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