Thursday, October 22, 2020

Police cover-up on killer highway

A Botswana Police Service (BPS) insider this week broke the blue code of silence and blew the whistle on colleagues who are trying to cover up Minister of Justice, Defence and Security Shaw Kgathi’s alleged criminal offence.

Kgathi’ who is Botswana’s top official responsible for the police, the army, the intelligence and the judiciary allegedly obstructed traffic officers from booking his official vehicle after it was clocked doing 101 km/h in an 80km/hr zone along the A1 “killer highway” on September 26 around 7.30pm.

According to Botswana’s penal code, it is a criminal offence to obstruct police officers in the execution of their duty or to resist arrest.

The police whistle blower’s account was confirmed by separate eye witnesses.

Kgathi was allegedly on the passenger seat when his over-speeding official vehicle, a Hyundai station wagon bearing the registration BX 096451 was stopped at a police road block for over shooting the 80km/hr speed limit.

The police officers manning the traffic block at Leshibitse village along the FrancistownÔÇôGaborone highway, constables Madikwa and Ikeleng from Dibete Police Station had stopped three cars for over-speeding; a white Audi A4 with the registration B673 AZW, a red Mazda with the registration B342 BBC and a silver grey Toyota Corolla with the registration B985 AMZ when the minister’s car was also nabbed.

The minister allegedly showed attitude, obstructing traffic officers from ticketing his chauffer and scolding them for wasting his time.

When Madikwa tried to get personal details of the chauffer, the minister allegedly told his driver to ignore the traffic officer.

The minister’s alleged intransigence is reported to have incited other motorists who had been stopped for over-speeding not to cooperate with the police. While the other motorists were still arguing with Ikeleng insisting that the law that was being applied to them should also apply to Kgathi, the minister allegedly lost patience with Madikwa who was insisting on charging his driver. Kgathi allegedly ordered his driver to drive off and breach the traffic picket.

Contacted for comment on Wednesday, Kgathi denied the reports and insisted on sourcing the mobile numbers of his chauffer and the Station Commander of Dibete Police Station Superintendent Phineas Makwaeba.

“I’m not aware of such an incident. Let me try to get you the numbers of my driver and the station commander’s,” he volunteered. He had failed to deliver on his promises at the time of going to press.

The station commander also claimed that he was not aware of the incident. “Maybe the case is being handled by Mochudi Police Station because Leshibitse is under the jurisdiction of Kgatleng District”, he said.

When Sunday Standard pointed out to him that Ikeleng and Madikwa were under his charge and Dibete Police Station and that the charge sheets they gave to speeding motorists at the Leshibitse road block stated “Dibete Police Station”, Makwaeba promised to investigate the issue further and come back to us later. At the time of going to press he had still not done so.

The police whistle blower, however, insisted that the station commander was lying to cover up the minister’s offence. He further revealed that the station commander was contemplating disciplinary action against Madikwa and Ikeleng after the minister allegedly complained that they had disrespected him at the road block.

One eye witness told Sunday Standard that “if indeed there were people who were rude it could have been us as we were yelling at the officers accusing them of applying the law selectively.”

Two of the motorists who were at the scene told Sunday Standard that they were notified that the station commander would phone them to write statements detailing what transpired between the minister and the traffic officers.

“I’m still waiting for the station commander’s call. I have also learnt that the two officers are likely to be called for a disciplinary hearing after the minister allegedly turned the tables and claimed that they had been rude to him,” said one of the motorists.

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