Two of the four men accused of being involved in a deadly shootout that left a policeman and one suspect dead in January this year, have been granted bail.
On Friday, principal magistrate Janet Phosa of the Regional Magistrate Court granted Gaofenngwe Seitiso and Thuso Tankomane bail, after explaining that she was not convinced that they would interfere with investigations.Evans Mhiwatiwa and Malibongwe Moyo, who was allegedly shot and injured during the incident, were remanded in custody, as they are foreign nationals.
“The second and third accused persons will be granted bail as there is nothing to support their continued incarceration. However, since the other accused persons are not citizens of this country, there is no assurance they would continue to reside in Botswana to continue their trial,” she said.
During a heated bail hearing, prosecutor, Kamogelo Maleke was forced to concede that the state had not gathered sufficient evidence in the matter thus far.
Pleading with the magistrate to deny the four men bail, Maleke said the state was not yet confident about the strength of its case and needed more time to investigate.
“We just recently managed to get the blood sample from Moyo and has been sent to the lab for tests. Right now the investigating officer is not sure if there were only four people, who are present in court today, involved in the incident.”
The state previously claimed that Moyo had repeatedly skipped court hearings where he was due to provide a sample of his blood to be tested against the stains found on bank notes seized in the incident.
Maleke told the court that the investigations would be complete once they had received the results of Moyo’s blood samples from the forensic laboratory.
“This matter is being treated as a matter of urgency and we assure the court that the results will be available in two weeks,” he said.
However, the accused’ lawyer Aobakwe Monamo, said the prosecutor had failed to explain to the court what he feared would happen if the men were granted bail. Monamo further said the accused persons were innocent till proven guilty and had been in custody since January 29.“The state previously told the court that the only thing that is keeping the accused persons in prison is because they were waiting for the blood samples. They got them and there is no reason for these men to wait for the results in prison,” he said. Monamo also conceded that the accused would not interfere with investigations.
The four men are alleged to have robbed a cash loan business office at gunpoint in Kanye, before engaging in a shootout with the police. They are faced with five counts including armed robbery, murder, attempted murder, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunitions.