LOBATSE: Investigating officer Modongo Modongo yesterday distanced himself from Police commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe‚Äôs testimony, in the case in which the family of Olefile Momphitlhi has dragged the Botswana Police to court.
Speaking during cross-examination, the officer told court that he was dismissed following the disappearance of Momphitlhi but was later reinstated.
Modongo also said he was not aware of the three most critical aspects of the case, which his boss, Makgophe had attested to.
He also contradicted his boss’s testimony.
Modongo denied knowledge of any cellphone message purportedly sent by the deceased to his brother, nor was he aware that the cell registrar had gone missing.
In the last court session, Makgophe testified that the police investigated a missing cellphone, which was at some stage in their custody but was used to send a short message to the brother of the missing person. “Apart from the missing cellphone, the police were also said to be investigating a missing cell register and the occurrence book,” he said.
The family’s lawyer Martin Dingake questioned the officer on the similarities in the message content and the communication the officers had whilst at Naledi, where they claim Momphitlhi escaped from their custody, but Modongo claimed ignorance on the matter.
“It was never brought to my attention, I do not know about the cellphone or the message,” he said.
Modongo also related to the court that on the day they drove to Naledi to fetch the car, which Momphitlhi had said was used during the robbery, things took a new twist when Momphitlhi escaped from their custody upon arrival at some yard.
“I was the one who was driving. We left the other officer in the car as he had indicated that he was not feeling well.
We then proceeded to enter the yard, which had three houses. I knocked on the first door, whilst the suspect and my colleague proceeded to knock on the other houses.
“Whilst I was still knocking, I heard the other officer shout, “o siile”. We chased after him but we could not find him, as it was dark. When we got back to the yard, a lady walked out and identified herself to us but denied ever knowing the now escaped suspect,” he said. The officer said they reported the incident to Old Naledi Police station, but only submitted written statements the following day.
Modongo also said that because they got excited on finally arresting the fourth and final suspect in the mysterious armed robbery incident, they decided not to handcuff Momphitlhi. “We trusted him because he handed himself to us. We were also excited that we had finally arrested the last suspect in the case,” he said. Dingake had put it to the officer that he believed they had assaulted Momphitlhi who died from injuries sustained while in custody.
The family lawyer also said that after disposing of the deceased’ body, the police had hatched a grand scheme to conceal the truth. The case will continue next month at the Lobatse High Court where the final state witness will appear.
The family of Momphitlhi is demanding answers about his whereabouts after he allegedly disappeared while in the custody of Molepolole police in 2011.