Three of the seven suspects who robbed a cash loan company and shot a police officer in Kanye last Thursday have been remanded in custody as investigations continue.
Traditional doctor, Evans Mhiwatiwa (43) from Zimbabwe, security officer Gaofenngwe Seitiso (34) of Kanye and unemployed Thuso Tankomane (28) from Molepolole, appeared before Kanye Principal Magistrate, Janet Phosa yesterday.
They are facing five counts that include armed robbery, murder, attempted murder, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, and car theft.
The trio and four others who were not before court are alleged to have robbed Roschvillie Investment Cash Loan of P87,000 and a Toyota Allex valued at P50,000 before shooting a police constable during an exchange of fire. The officer who was injured in the shootout died on Monday morning and has been identified as Constable Focus Isaiah.
The magistrate agreed to remand the suspects who appeared in court to allow investigations to be completed and because they face serious charges.
The prosecutor, Goitsemang Sekgabo said the accused were likely to interfere with investigations especially that statements from potential witnesses were yet to be taken. He stated that the accused were likely to abscond more so that some are not Batswana.
“This is not only in the best interest of the prosecution for the accused to be remanded but it is in the best interest of the public and the suspects’ own safety,” he said. He argued that with two suspects still at large, it was going to be a risky move to release the accused persons.
Attorney Noah Rutherford representing Mhiwatiwa, responded that he had no objection to his client being remanded in custody to allow investigations to take place, but requested for statements from witnesses on time so he can prepare his case. “I would be applying for bail in the next mention because right now, I am fearing for my client’s safety and I request that I be given a chance to consult with him. As of now, I have not been given time to do so,” he said.
One of the accused, Seitiso requested to be given bail so he can look for legal representation. He said he was a breadwinner at home, and that his girlfriend was in confinement with a month old baby at a rented house in Molepolole. The other accused, Tankomane told the magistrate that he wanted bail because there was nothing linking him to the crime.
He said even witnesses testified that he never shot the police, but was rather shot at by one of the suspects who is hospitalised. “The police arrested me on Friday and tortured me for nothing, despite being the ones who told me there was nothing linking me to the crime.
Even the hospitalised guy in Marina (Princess Marina Hospital) denied knowing me when they took me there for identification,” he said. The case will be mentioned on February 17.