FRANCISTOWN: The State has voluntarily dropped murder charges against six of the seven men who were accused of gunning down a senior secondary school teacher in gangster style in September 2015.
The State alleged that Nthoiwa Maxala, 36, Tshoganetso Maxala, 25, Thusani Manala, 31, Tsaone Sedimo, 31, Unaludo Madumba, 30, Obonetse Sedimo, 31 and McPherson Gaogakwe, 52, killed Thuso Mulaladzi on September 13, 2015 at Somerset East location using a firearm. However, when the case appeared before Justice Gaolapelwe Ketlogetswe on Friday, the state prosecutor filed nolle prosequi papers (unwilling to prosecute or do not prosecute) against Tshoganetso, Manala, Sedimo, Madumba, Sedimo, and Gaogakwe, which effectively mean that only Nthoiwa will be tried for the offence. A private attorney however explained to The Monitor that the entry of a nolle prosequi is not an acquittal. “Since the principle of double jeopardy therefore does not apply, the defendant may later be indicted on the same charge again,” he explained.
Trial dates in the matter have been set for April 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 in 2019. Attorney Reneetswe Rabosotho represents Nthoiwa. Before the matter was committed to the High Court, the investigating officer in the case, Lynn Agang told the court that during the course of her investigations, the third accused person, Thabani Manala, was with six other men who are also charged with the murder of Mulaladzi, who was a Physics teacher at McConnell College in Tutume, in 2015.
“All the accused were at Borolong village before the shooting. Our investigations show that there was a fight on September 13, 2015 at Borolong between Nthoiwa and the deceased and his friends. Nthoiwa and his cousin went to collect their friends who are also accused of committing this murder,” said Agang.
“The deceased and his friends,” Agang said, “fled to Francistown in their car while the seven accused persons followed the deceased using Nthoiwa’s vehicle.”
Agang told the court that the accused persons had a shotgun in their possession and they found
“Upon locating the deceased and his friends, the accused started chasing them up to Somerset East location where the deceased was shot from behind and left to die without taking any measures to help him.
“They then returned to Borolong. At Borolong, Manala dismantled the gun and put it in a travel bag while Madumba threw the remaining live bullets into a pit latrine in order to conceal evidence,” Agang said then. Agang said her investigations did not reveal where Manala comes from and the person who exactly shot the deceased. “The gun belongs to Nthoiwa but it was recovered from Manala.”
Under cross-examination from the defence attorney Tshekiso Tshekiso, Agang said one of the accused persons told him the person who shot the deceased but was not sure if that person was telling the truth or not. “Nthoiwa is the one who said he fired the gun,” said Agang. Asked why she did not reveal that Nthoiwa said he is the one who said he fired the gun in her evidence in chief, Agang responded: “I did not reveal this information to the court because I was not under pressure to reveal that. I was only revealing why I am connecting Thabani to the matter”.
Asked further by Tshekiso if this was not a case in which she was expected to reveal how her investigations are going, Agang said her investigations were still continuing. However, prosecutor Gasemotho Pitlagano objected to what Tshekiso asked, stating that the purpose of the mention was to reveal why Manala is connected to the matter. Agang further said she does not have any reason to believe that Nthoiwa actually shot the deceased because he denied it first but later agreed.