The decision by President Ian Khama Seretse Khama to appoint new Judges of the High Court this week has sparked new fear on Olefile Momphitlhi’s family that efforts to find answers on the whereabouts of their son who went missing from Police custody in 2011 could have been all in vain.
The family who suspects that Olefile was killed by the Molepolole Police during interrogations are now praying for reinstatement of Justice Ranier Busang who was suspended together with three other judges four Months ago, while he was yet to release a judgement in the matter.
“The appointment of the three Judges have really devastated Momphitlhi’s mother because they are an indication that, the president is likely to dismiss the other four who are currently suspended from office. What she keeps asking is, what would happen to the case now if Busang is not reinstated. She keeps praying for him because she wants justice, she wants closure to this matter” explained the family representative, Noel Mmopi.
Mmopi further revealed that, in fact, the whole family is in agonising wait for the matter to end.
“Our fear is that if this case goes to trial again, the Police officers would bring more corroborating tales than they did during the last trial. We are all stressed up,” added Mmopi.
Busang was suspended from duty in August this year together with three other Judges, Mercy Gaarekwe, Key Dingake and Modiri Letsididi.
This week Khama appointed three substantive judges to the bench, Bashi Moesi, Boipuso Tshweneyagae and Jennifer Dube. In September this year, Khama appointed Godfrey Nthomiwa as an acting Judge.
However, even though the four newly appointed Judges are viewed as a replacement of the suspended ones, cases which were pending before the latter have not been reallocated. Meanwhile the family’s legal representative in the said case says although he took the matter on voluntary basis, he would still stand with the family even if the case could go for re trial.
‘’In a case where a Judge ceases to preside over the matter for a reason, it could be due to death, dismissal or any other cause, two scenarios can be adopted. The matter can start afresh, as in refiling, retrial and all that. The new Judge could then match his or her notes with that of the former judge. The Judge could also go through the notes and pass judgement without necessarily starting from scratch,” Dingake explained.
He however revealed that either way justice would be compromised because in the first model, witnesses’ accounts could change whilst in the second model the Judge would not have the opportunity to read the attitude of the witnesses towards the questions.
Momphitlhi’s case is that of a Molepolole man who went missing under mysterious circumstances while in Police custody in 2011. The family suspects that the police killed him during interrogations and got reed of the evidence such as his clothes and other property and the cell register.
However the Police claim that Momphitlhi escaped from lawful custody. Their account of the incidents that led to his escape remains questionable, however because when they appeared before the Lobatse High court in August this year they presented conflicting statements.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.