Thabo Stimela on Friday walked out of the Francistown Magistrate Court a free man, once again eluding the law.
The suspected criminal, who has gained a cult reputation in Botswana, had been arrested for the alleged possession of a stolen BMW luxury vehicle.
Francistown Magistrate Lorraine Makati-Lesang freed Setimela and two others after they were arrested and charged for possession of goods suspected to be stolen outside Botswana.
Setimela and his accomplices, Itumeleng Molema and Kabelo Kekana, both of South African origin, were on the 8th of October arrested by Francistown police after they were found in possession of a black BMW, registration numbers SCT 590 GP, which was apparently reported stolen in South Africa. All three accused said that they were residents of the leafy suburbs of Sandton in South Africa, and that they are unemployed.
The first accused, Itumeleng Molema, said that he was the owner of the BMW having bought it from one Mathebula in South Africa. It also transpired during the trial that Mathebula had indeed bought the car from BMW South Africa but has since 2002 failed to honour his financial commitments, and that BMW wanted to repossess the car. Questions were raised about the said Mathebula as it seemed that the BMW dealership had, since 2002, failed to locate him even though he was a South African resident.
The second and third accused, Thabo Setimela and Kabelo Kekana, said that they were just passengers in the said vehicle. Magistrate Makati-Lesang said that she could not find any reason to charge and detain Setimela and Kekana, and therefore discharged and acquitted them from the said offences. Itumeleng Moema was granted bail and given a leeway to travel to South Africa as he had said that he has business interests there. He was, however, ordered to present himself to the court of law if and when he is ordered to. He is due to appear for mention on November 14th.
The prosecution found themselves at tenterhooks and pleaded for the matter to be withdrawn without prejudice. The defense, however, argued that the case was not a criminal matter but rather a civil matter between BMW South Africa and Mathebula as he had failed to honour his financial commitments to them.
The three accused were represented by Thekiso Thekiso of Kgalemang and Associates. However, Setimela had also bolstered his defense by engaging Thema from Mokwena and Associates.