Murder accused, Mokganedi Galebowe, who is on bail for the murder of his wife is expected back in court, but this time to fight for custody of his two minor children who are under the care of his mother-in-law.
According to fresh papers before the courts, the children’s maternal grandmother, Gabogaisane Kgwebe, has sought the court’s intervention to grant her full custody of her deceased daughter’s children.
She believes that she should be granted custody and appointed the legal guardian of the minor children, a boy aged 11 and his sister aged 15, as their father is not fit to live with them since they are witnesses in the murder case.
“On the 18th of May, 2016 at around 12 midnight, I received a frantic phone call from my grandson, requesting me to call the police as he suspected his father to have killed his mother. The children were calling from a neighbour’s house where they had sought refuge.”
The grandmother prayed with the court to be granted full custody of the children so that she can take full charge of their welfare. “Now that I live with these kids, there are legal and administrative processes that require a guardian or parent to sign or give consent on behalf of the minor children, which I cannot do as I have not been legally recognized or appointed as such,” she said.
The court heard that after the brutal murder of the children’s mother, Galebowe fled from the crime scene and drove to his mother’s home in Serowe where he later turned himself in at the police station and confessed to killing his wife of 10 years.
A month after his arrest, Galebowe was granted conditional bail which prohibited him from being in contact with witnesses in the case and his children who were said to have been present when their mother was killed, invariably became state witnesses and he was barred from communicating or contacting them.
For his part Galebowe opposed the custody application and told the court that he has been complying with the bail conditions which prohibit him from communicating with his children.
The accused father also pleaded with the court to consider reviewing the bail conditions so that he can have access to his children.
“I have on numerous occasions asked the court to intervene in the issue of my bail conditions in relation to access to my children. The bail conditions state that I should not interfere with state witnesses, but I have not been served with witness statements. As it stands I do not know who the state intends to call as witnesses. Be that as it may, I have been reliably informed by the prosecutor, Inspector Tshepho, that my minor children may be called as witnesses,” he said.
The case will resume at the Francistown High Court next week Wednesday.