A suspect in this weeks cash-in-transit heist that took place in Kumakwane, Nkgopoleng Mogopolo Kolagano, has been remanded in state custody pending the outcome of his bail application that is scheduled for next week.
The 44-year-old Kolagano who was allegedly found in possession of part of the loot, appeared this week before a Molepolole Magistrates Court facing a single count of robbery.
The Security Systems van transporting cash from Gaborone to Ghanzi was shot at and held up by the six men using a white Ford Ranger as it entered the village at a speed hump.
Particulars of the offence state that Kolagano of Taung ward in Ramotswa and six others still at large on October 27th, 2020 (Tuesday), at Kumakwane village acting jointly with a common purpose and being armed with rifles, robbed Oarabile Jeff Koloka, Mosotho Fagolethata Olaetse, Mosimane Keborate and Gadibotsane Motlhasedi, being security guards for Security Systems and immediately before such robbery, used personal violence in order to overcome resistance.
Taking a stand in court, the investigating officer Sub Inspector Aaron Mbe of Thamaga police station indicated that the suspect was arrested the same afternoon and was found in possession of cash amounting to P298, 000 in his car.
“The investigations are still fresh and this is the only suspect arrested and the only amount that has been recovered so far. The other suspects are still at large, we pray that the suspect is remanded while investigations are ongoing,” explained Mbe.
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However, the defence attorney, Olehile Mantswe, disputed Mbe’s submissions that it is a misunderstanding of the law for the accused to be remanded with the reason that the investigations were ongoing, saying it could only be done if there is a possibility that the accused will interfere with investigations.
When giving reasons on how the accused will interfere with investigations, Sub Inspector Mbe said: “We fear that the accused will meet his accomplices’ others who have not yet been arrested because while we were investigating there was evidence that the accused was communicating with other suspects who are on the run”.
Mantswe further told the court that his client is paralysed from the waist down, critically ill and that he uses sterols to maintain his hormones and also that during the day of arrest he had gone to see a doctor.
Standing by his words Mbe who could not be moved, further explained that he interviewed the accused but he never mentioned what his lawyer claimed, adding that the accused had told him that he was able to drive from Taung to Gaborone.
“Even when he was arrested he was driving his car. It’s one of the things he is capable of doing. We cannot rule out that he is a part of the culprits who robbed the complainants,” argued Mbe.
Walking slowly with crutches as he moved to the witness box, Kolagano took the stand and told the court that he has been married for 21 years, staying with the wife and their only 17-year-old son.
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“I am paraplegic, half paralysed and half mobile; sometimes I depend on a wheelchair for mobility. I also need to be monitored by a physiotherapist and I also missed my medication during the days I was incarcerated,” explained Kolagano who claimed to be feeling the strain of his health during his presentation in court.
“I feel uncomfortable when using a mask; it suffocates me and even disturbs my mind. I was arrested with foreigners who were on isolation, the facility did not even have sanitizers, I even have to take food with them to sustain. I am really exposed to Covid-19, I might even be a danger to this courtroom,” said Kolagano.
Kolagano also told the court that during incarceration he was prevented from using his crutches and that he depended on other inmates to support his mobility.
He said he feared that if remanded he would find himself in the same condition he had experienced.
The prosecution further argued that it would be a prejudice of the state’s case if the accused was not remanded since he even phoned one of the suspects in the presence of the investigating officer.
“The accused claimed that without sterols he would die, but at the same time, he said he took time during his arrest without taking them. We pray that he be incarcerated also considering the nature of the charge, we are aware of his right to liberty but we believe he has a strong case,” Modisadife explained.
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His co-prosecutor Sergeant Modise Masala hastily stood up and loudly added that the accused did not give a satisfactory explanation about where he got the money. “There might be some additional charges of unlawful possession as the suspects used guns and another one for malicious damage of the security vehicle,” he said.
Magistrate Kefilwe Resheng ordered that the suspect be granted access to his medication while awaiting a ruling on the bail application which will be delivered next Thursday.