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Key witness stalls Setlampoloka murder case

INNOCENT SELATLHWA
The accussed persons in the Setlampoloka matter
Defence attorneys in the Italy Setlampoloka murder case have demanded the prosecution provide a medical report detailing if key witness, Unopa Makhombe can give evidence in court.

Makhombe is the key witness in the case where he made damning claims that he was present when Setlampoloka was strangled to death and witnessed as his body was carried off before it was dumped in the bushes.

 As the key witness, he has on many occasions been stalling the case where he was meant to give evidence over the alleged murder, citing ill health for years now.

Setlampoloka was found dead on July 30, 2009, a day after he was arrested by police officers and put in a cell at the Mogoditshane Police Station. 

He had been arrested by the Serious Crimes Squad on suspicion of possessing guns used in a spate of robberies.

Six police officers who are suspects in the case, sub-Inspector Ranto Mmeleki, Constables Tebogo Khutsafalo, Kabo Ramohibidu, Michael Ramhibitswana, detective assistant Superintendent Dithuso Dintwe and Constable Patrick Gobotswang, are represented by Kgosietsile Ngakaagae and Busang Manewe.

Makhombe who last week told Gaborone High Court that he was present when the police killed  Setlampoloka failed to appear yesterday and last Thursday, where he was to be cross-examined by Ngakaagae and Manewe.

On Thursday last week, Makhombe could not make it to court and prosecutor, Dumisani Marapo produced a sick note stating that Makhombe was unwell.

Yesterday morning, Marapo told the court that Makhombe was

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at Princess Marina Hospital for a medical procedure.

“I spoke to him this morning and he told me that he was at Princess Marina Hospital.  I then spoke to Inspector Mogorosi from Mogoditshane Police to ascertain if indeed Makhombe was at the hospital,” he said.

Manewe raised their concern over Makhombe’s perennial absence.

“The (key) witness has delayed the case a lot and it is costly to our clients.  We need to ascertain that Makhombe is fit to give evidence in the matter so that if he is unfit, he can be removed as a witness and his evidence expunged,” he said.

Justice Leatile Dambe had to move the matter to the afternoon with Marapo instructed to get a medical report from the hospital. However, after waiting for an hour for Marapo, the matter was moved to the final trial day, which is on Thursday. Manewe told the court that it could be that Marapo was still trying to get the medical report as he had called to bemoan that the processes at the hospital were taking long.

“I suppose he is still battling with the bureaucratic process and hopes he will have the report by Thursday,” he said.

While the report is awaited on, Manewe and Ngakaagae have rubbished Makhombe’s damning claims and submission.



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