Alleged serial robbers deny offence

Francistown Magistrate's Court
Francistown Magistrate's Court

FRANCISTOWN: Three Zimbabwean men who allegedly robbed Precious Filling Station at gunpoint on January 17, 2014 have pleaded not guilty to the offence.

The trio of Thabani Mapunganyuka, Sungusani Tafarushe and Godwin Mapunganyuka, allegedly used pistols in the incident and got away with cash amounting to P7,490.

During the trial yesterday, detective assistant superintendent Meshack Mosika said the suspects were arrested in Selebi-Phikwe in connection with the robbery of yet another filling station. Mosika said he went to Selebi-Phikwe accompanied by Tebogo Tsotlhe and Mogae Balemetse, to identify the accused.

Balemetse was allegedly at the filling station to fuel his mini bus, which the accused allegedly used as a getaway car while Balemetse works at Precious.

Mosika stated that on March 12, 2014 police and home affairs officials from Zimbabwe came to Botswana and confirmed that Thabani’s surname was Mapunganyuka and not Nkala as he had previously identified himself.

Mosika added that they also confirmed from Zimbabwe officials that the accused were in Botswana illegally since they had no passports, before he warned and cautioned them on the current charge.

Mosika said that the accused denied the charge, instead insisting that they were in Zimbabwe when the incident occurred.

“The Close Circuit Television Camera (CCTV) at the filling station was not clear and it constrained us to use the footage as part of our evidence. We established that it was not clear because it was a long time back,” he explained.

Mosika added that the only evidence that linked the accused to the offence was because Tsotlhe and Balemetse identified them during an identity parade conducted at Selebi-Phikwe prison, save for Thabani.

Mompoloki Gaboiphiwe and Kagiso Lekang from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) represented the state in the matter. The case continues.

In a related matter, the accused are also facing a charge of allegedly robbing City Way Filling Station of P10,780 and airtime worth P940 on January 8 last year, employing the same modus operandi.

In a different matter, Thabani Mapunganyuka and Sungusani Tafarushe are also charged with killing John Keletse, a former biology teacher at Masunga Senior Secondary School. The incident took place in Matsiloje, 45 kilometres east of Francistown on December 20, 2013. The accused allegedly robbed other bar patrons of their valuables including cellphones and money, before crossing the border into Zimbabwe.

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