Sunday, December 5, 2021

Police suspected of killing another suspect and destroying evidence

Botswana Police Service has lost important documents that could help piece together information on what happened to a crime suspect believed to have been killed by police investigating officers four years ago. This is the second case in less than a month to be heard before the court where police are feared to have killed the suspect and destroyed evidence that would incriminate them.

For four years, Botswana police service has failed to account for the whereabouts of Olefile Moiphithi who went missing in 2011 after being accused of an armed robbery in Molepolole where a cash of 100 000 Pula from Taj Filling Station was stolen at gun point. Appearing before the Lobatse High Court, Botswana Police commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe who was also representing Moiphithi’s family as a witness, admitted that there was negligence from some of his officers who were handling the matter.

He further admitted that some critical evidence which were to be used against the police in the matter went missing from police records. He said it was reported to him that a cell registry and occurrence book which were used by the police to enter information relating to suspect when detained and released cannot be located ”I’m aware that a cell registry, occurrence book and other related documents linked to the suspects went missing from police but my main concern was not the documents but to try and look for the missing person and give proper feedback to Moiphithi’s family, ”said Makgophe. During cross examination, Makgophe said he is not aware that a case of escaping from lawful custody was not reported to Old Naledi where the suspect allegedly escaped.

He said there was negligence on the part of his officers who were tasked with investigating the matter. Makgophe also told the court that during some of the meetings, Moiphithi’s family had raised a number of issues saying in one of the meetings the family suspected that the police had killed their son. After five years and still looking and not even finding a possible lead, the commissioner told the court that they are still looking for Moiphithi and the investigations on the matter are still ongoing. He said they have engaged Interpol and there was no sign that the suspect has crossed the border.

In yet another cross examination, one of the family’s witnesses Mothusi Popego who was arrested and detained with Moiphithi has told the court that the police had indicated that they would kill Moiphithi if he failed to produce the stolen money and the getaway car which was used during the robbery.

He said before they took him from Molepolole police custody to Old Naledi, around 9 PM, he heard them saying if Moiphithi failed to produce the car and cash they would kill him. One of the state witnesses, Detective Thatayaone Christian, who was the ring leader and an intelligence coordinator at the time of escorting Moiphithi to Old Naledi in Gaborone, said they never registered a case of escaping from unlawful custody. He told the court that in 2013 he was then transferred to Jwaneng Police and later learnt from his colleagues that the matter had been withdrawn. The case has been postponed to 22-23 July.

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