Magistrate court orders CID to release murder case affidavits
It has been three years since a government employee, a driver in the department of Information Services, Gopolang Gabonatsela allegedly gunned down Taolo Serapelano of Sanyedi ward in Maun in what was described as a cold-blooded murder that sent shockwaves across Ngamiland.
Since 2020 Gabonatsela has been making court appearances before Maun magistrate court but his case is yet to be committed to the High Court for hearing as some key documents relating to the case have not yet been filed in court.
This week however Maun Chief Magistrate, Thebeetsile Mulalo ordered an arrest warrant against officer in charge of Maun police’s Criminal Investigation Unit (CID) over failure to furnish court with these key documents that include a car log book and copy of the said fire arm certificate.
Mulalo however suspended the warrant on condition that the said officer comes before court on or before 8 June 2023 to explain why his office cannot be held in contempt of court for failure to comply with the order that requested them to submit such documents to court.
According to Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) the case can only be committed to the High Court after receipt of the said documents.
Gabanatsela, a well known ‘cowboy’ in an around Maun is facing a single charge of murder after he allegedly killed Taolo with a single bullet to the back of the head in 2020.
Although the matter is yet to be tried, the deceased cousin 35-year-old Diphuka Kerepile has previously shared an account of events that led to the bloody scene as he says he was with Taolo when he was “killed.”
Kerepile explained that on that fateful morning which was on a Saturday, him and Taolo mounted two horses and rode to a neighbouring Samedupi village and just before they reached the village, a land Cruiser belonging to Information Services passed by. “Suddenly it stopped and reversed towards us. Mogotsi Seboko was driving but it was Gabanatsela – a passenger in the same vehicle – who asked Taolo where he got the horse he was riding. Before Taolo could give an explanation, Gabanatsela opened a gun case and we took off,” narrated Kerepile, adding that they fled back to the nearby settlement of Dauga.
On the way, he said he asked Taolo about the horse and he said he had borrowed it from a friend. He said they then left the horses in Dauga and travelled the 15 kilometres back to Maun on donkey backs the following morning.
However, just as they were about to arrive home, a Nissan Double Cab with Information Services sticker is said to have sped past, stopping a short distance ahead of them. According to him the vehicle did not have a number plate.
“I was riding my donkey in front of Taolo’s. But as the two men alighted from the vehicle, we stopped. It was the same men from the day before, Gabanatsela and Seboko. When they came out of the car, Gabanatsela was carrying a gun. He cocked it and Seboko pointed at me and said, ‘He is the one,’ but Gabanatsela replied, ‘No, he is not,’ and they both approached Taolo, who was still straddling the donkey,” continued Kerepile.
He went on to describe how the men suddenly grabbed Taolo and brought him down.
Gabanatsela is said to have commanded Seboko to bring a rope so they can tie Taolo down, “But since they were holding him by his coat, he managed to wrestle it off and tried to run. That is when Gabanatsela opened fire and shot him at the back of the head,” Kerepile explained.
Seboko allegedly told Gabanatsela that he has committed murder, “But Gabanatsela walked on anyway and started the engine. Seboko had to run and jump into the already moving car.”
Kerepile said he left the bleeding Taolo on the ground, mounted a donkey and rushed to call relatives while the two Information Services men drove back to Maun where they continued with official duties of the day.
Meanwhile Seboko is said to have since turned state witness and the matter is currently stalled at magistrate court due to insufficient evidence to try the case.
The matter returns to court on June 8th.