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CoA confirms Poloko will hang

A panel of three Court of Appeal (CoA) judges has yesterday sentenced to death the Francistown born Uyapo Poloko, 37, for killing Vijeyadeyi Kandavanam in 2015. Poloko is now waiting upon the hang man’s time at the Maximum Prison.

He had on January 25, 2010 at Ntshe in Francistown, murdered Vijeyadeyi Kandavanam and stole from Balasingham Kandavanam cellphones worth P3 500. He was last year convicted and sentenced to death by the High Court. Poloko then tried his luck before the CoA last appealing his conviction and sentence. But the three judges would not spare him the hang man’s nose as they confirmed his death sentence.

Delivering the judgment, Judge Gaongalelwe carried that neither the accused nor the prosecution bears any duty to convince the courtof the existence of extenuating circumstance. He noted that the court is entitled to travel far and wide completely unrestricted by considerations of procedure and strict admissibility. He however dismissed the existence of such factors that would warrant leniency in Poloko’s case. ”In this case there is nothing to suggest anything in relation, for example to provocation, intoxication nor immaturity,” ruled Judge Gaongalelwe.

Judge Gaongalelwe stated that Poloko had come to the deceased’s house to rob. He knew that Balasingnam had been paid P8000 for the car. “He equipped himself with a length of rope with which to strangle Balasingham . having immobilized Balasingham, he ransacked the house after strangling the deceased. He was prepared to use violence, even fatal violence, to achieve his purpose,” Judge Gaongalelwe noted.

The background of the case is that Balasingham and Poloko were known to one another all along prior to the day of the incident. They were both in the building industry though working for different companies. Balasingham used to do works for his own company where he was a managing director, while Poloko used to be employed by other private companies. The two were ordinarily resident in Francistown.

In his heads of arguments Poloko had through his attorney Tshekiso Thekiso of Tshekiso Ditiro & Jani Legal Practice complained that his right to a fair trial by an impartial court had been violated. He said the trial court failed to exercise its discretion for it to administer justice and arrive at a just and fair decision by subpoenaing witnesses who were not called by the state and the then defence attorney whose evidence was crucial to the case.

On their part the state had urged the court to dismiss Poloko’s agruments and hang him to death. The Court Of Appeal (CoA) will on Tuesday hear the arguments in a case in which a two year -death row inmate wants his death sentence to be set aside, insisting that the trial court erred in convicting him. The man was in 2015 convicted of a single count of murder without extenuating circumstances, attempted murder and theft and was subsequently sentenced to death.

He had on January 25, 2010 at Ntshe in Francistown, murdered Vijeyadeyi Kandavanam, attempted to kill Balasingnam Kandavanam and stole cellphones worth P3 500. In his heads of arguments filed before the CoA, Poloko had through his attorney Tshekiso Thekiso of Tshekiso Ditiro & Jani Legal Practice complained that the appellant’s right to a fair trial by an impartial court had been violated. He said the trial court failed to exercise its discretion for it to administer justice and arrive at a just and fair decision by subpoenaing witnesses who were not called by the state and the then defence attorney whose evidence was crucial to the case.

These, he said, were the security officers employed by the person whom his client is said to have attempted to kill as well as the officer who attended the site visit and project handover. “The evidence of these witnesses was crucial to the issue of whether the appellant went to the complaint’s premises on the morning of 25th January 2010. It matters not that the state and the defence in their own wisdom chose not to call these witnesses. What matters is that the trial court had a duty to render a just decision and in doing so, it had discretion to call these persons to testify,” states Thekiso in his arguments.

Thekiso stressed that though he has no doubt as to the integrity of the trial judge and his ability as a judge, “this appears to me to be a case in which the judge made an innocent error in judgment. The error of judgment does however; create an impression that he had prejudged the matter that served before him before it was concluded. It does create a reasonable likelihood of bias.”

He went on to argue that the state was allowed to submit inadmissible confession before court. They went out on a deliberate plan to squeeze an inadmissible confession in to the record through the back door, he decries. He said the allegation by the state that his client confessed to strangling Balasingnam was not a statement to the witness but a statement to the police. “The alleged confession, he said might have been told to the court by a non-police officer, but on the record, it was made to a police officer.”

Thekiso had during the last session of the CoA applied to be granted permission to give additional evidence but was dismissed. The appellant was represented by a different attorney during trial.
On their part the state has urged the court to dismiss Poloko’s agruments and hang him to death. The state added that the extenuating factors that the defence claims apply in their case; do not fall in the criteria of factors to be taken to account.

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

22nd November 2021
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The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

22nd November 2021
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The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

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The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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