FRANCISTOWN: A former Botswana Police Service (BPS) officer, Atlholang Mojanki was on Friday found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Bokani Socks.
Returning a verdict of guilty in the marathon case that started in 2014, Justice Lot Moroka said the state has proved its case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
Moroka said that while the accused previously denied that he knew nothing of the disappearance of Socks on January 2, 2014, only to later admit that he was with Socks in Francistown on the last day before her disappearance when giving unsworn testimony, phone records from Mascom and Orange networks show that Mojanki called Socks on that day.
“Phone records show that the accused called the deceased on her mobile phone on January 2, 2014 telling her that they should meet at Galo Mall in Francistown. The deceased was where she resided in Tati Siding. After the accused called the deceased, the deceased wrote a note and left it on top of her bed indicating that she was going to meet Mojanki at Galo Mall in Francistown. That was the last time the deceased was seen because she never returned after meeting the accused,” Moroka said.
Fellow workers of the deceased at Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital where Socks was employed as a nurse, became worried after she did not report for work for some days.
“Bokani’s co-workers called the deceased’ sister to enquire about her whereabouts. Bokani’s sister told them that she did not know where Bokani was since she last spoke to her telephonically on January 3, 2014. Since Bokani was already reported as a missing person at Gerald Police Station, the police and Bokani’s sister went to her place at Tati Siding to look for her. When they arrived where Bokani was renting, they found the door locked but asked for permission from Bokani’s landlord to break the door in order to gain entrance into the house,” Moroka went on.
The judge said that upon entering the house, the police contingent found no one inside the house but they found a note that was written by Socks indicating that she was going to meet Mojanki at Gallo Mall in Francistown in January 3, 2014.
“The accused was later contacted by the police but told them that he knew nothing about Bokani’s whereabouts because she was no longer her girlfriend after they parted ways in 2013. The case then went cold... The accused later went to see Pastor Milidzani Socks of the Breath of Life Ministries in Borolong and made a confession before the clergyman that he murdered Bokani and was now psychologically haunted by the incident since he kept on seeing bodies of dead people. Pastor Socks later related what Mojanki told him to one of his congregants who was a police officer about what Mojanki had told him,” said Moroka.
The police officer who was briefed about what Mojanki confided to Pastor Socks later linked with another cop who was investigating the case, which Moroka added, triggered the police to restart investigations in the matter.
The Investigations Officer, Moroka explained, gave Pastor Socks a recording device to record his conversation with Mojanki during one of his consultations.
In the compact disc that was played before a fully packed court during trial and was admitted as part of the evidence, Mojanki could be saying that he met with Socks at Galo Mall.
The recording continued: “I then went to Nando's to buy food. I then returned to my car where Bokani was waiting for me. I had a Nando's receipt that I later gave to Bokani to collect the food at Nandos because
After he throttled Socks, the court heard that Mojanki then took a large rock and smashed it against Socks’ head while she was out cold.
“The accused then took some plastics and papers to burn Bokani’s body. He confessed to the pastor that he murdered Bokani because Bokani was refusing to bear a child with him but was instead impregnated by another man,” said Moroka.
The court also heard that Socks’ body was discovered by a Botswana Defence Force soldier who was jogging nearby the bush.
Officially, Moroka said, Mojanki was deployed by BPS to walk at Ramokgwebana border post but because he provided an alibi, the state had to prove that hence the state took a note that Socks had left on her bed.
Giving his version of what transpired, Moroka said Mojanki told the court that after he fell in love with Socks she started to hate his children and told Mojanki that he should relocate them to their mothers.
“This Mojanki said led him to abuse alcohol and drugs. He said that he was pained by the fact that Bokani was refusing to bear a child with him but after he discovered that Bokani was impregnated by another man, he resorted to smoking dagga sometimes mixing it with antiretroviral drugs,” Moroka said.
The judge continued: “The accused admitted to meeting Pastor Socks on two occasions but he however distanced himself from the confession that he gave to the pastor. It is clear from his unsworn evidence that he left many questions that were asked by the prosecution unanswered. What the pastor saw and heard in the confession is on its own evidence minus the voice recording. Even if what recording was put aside, what the pastor heard and told the court on its own is admissible in court... The accused also did not deny abusing the deceased in his unsworn evidence... .”
“After carefully analysing the evidence before me, I came to the conclusion that the accused evidence is false beyond reasonable doubt. The state has proved its case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The accused manifestly masterminded the death of the deceased and as such he is guilty of murder. He killed Bokani with a sober mind. His claim that he was using drugs is patently false since he stated that at the end of his trial but failed to call any of his witnesses to testify that he was a serial drug abuser,” Moroka explained.
At the end of the judgement, Carlos Diundu from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions made an application for Mojanki to be fingerprinted to ascertain if he has previous offences or not.
Moroka set the matter for June 30, 2021, for extenuation and mitigation.
He then told the accused that on June 30, “the defence should motivate why you should not be hanged by your neck until you die”.