JWANENG: Neo Tanka, popularly known as Prophet Bonang of Pure Gospel Bible Church of God in Jwaneng was denied bail on Thursday for the second time after the prosecution said the names he is using are not his.
Prophet Bonang was arrested and remanded in custody for false declaration during an application for a passport two weeks ago.
The 19-year-old whose nationality is still questionable, allegedly applied for a passport in April 2016 and wrote Margaret Tanka as his mother and used Nurse Kono‘s identity number as that of his mother. He also wrote Bashi Tanka as his father and falsely used Douglas Kono’s identity.
The prosecutor Sub-Inspector Edwin Supang pleaded with the court to further remand the accused pending investigations. He said the investigating team has engaged Interpol to look for the real Neo Tanka and investigate how the accused got in possession of the birth certificate of such.
“Preliminary investigations have revealed that the accused names are not Neo Tanka as he alleges. We ask the court to afford us time to investigate because he used different people’s identity numbers claiming to be his parents. His nationality is still questionable at this stage and I apply that he be remanded in custody to allow for investigations to continue,” Supang said.
Prophet Bonang, through his attorney, one P.O. Corentine, asked the court to assume the accused to be innocent until proven guilty and release him on bail. Corentine said she appreciated that the investigations were at high level of Interpol and there is less likelihood that the accused would interfere with the investigations.
“The prosecution’s submissions are mere allegations as they are not the ones to judge. The accused does not have a passport as alleged and he is not a flight risk and not likely to interfere with other witnesses outside the country,” Corentine said.
The presiding Magistrate, Odirile Mokgatle also had a difficult time in identifying the accused by name, but settled for Neo Tanka because the accused walked to
He stated that the identity of the accused is still in dispute though his lawyer has applied that stringent bail conditions could be imposed and free the accused. Mokgatle added that the prosecution had also submitted that the real Neo Tanka was somewhere and the accused has fraudulently used the passport and the names, which are not his.
“At this stage, there should be assurance that the accused will appear to all sessions at all times and the court also note that his identity is still in dispute.
It will not be easy to trace the accused because the State is not certain about his name. He might come later with his real names and say he was never prosecuted. The security will have a hard time to trace the accused as he has other contacts outside the country.
It will be a gambling game risky to take, the accused will be remanded in custody,” Mokgatle said.
In his previous mention, the investigating officer, Detective Constable Otshedile Popo revealed that Margaret Tanka whom the accused claimed is his mother, was once charged and convicted of the same offence before court and her identity card and passport were forfeited to the State.
It further emerged that Prophet Bonang told the investigating team that his father was from Thamaga and did Grades 1 and 2 there, though he could tell the primary school he went to, nor the teacher who taught him. The team took him to Thamaga where he also failed to locate his relatives.
Though he argued that he had a church, a television station and his eight months-old baby to take care of, Mokgatle remanded him in custody. He will appear again in December 21, 2017.