Sordid saga of sex and money

Portia Mlilo

Sordid details of how two couples connived to extort an aged medical doctor in Gaborone of almost P1 million came tumbling out in court during trial last week.

Malebogo Balole and her boyfriend, Gosetsemang Zikhale, as well as Thandiwe Tebogo Tlagae and her boyfriend, Thomas Chentili Ndala, appeared before Extension II Magistrate, Lentlhabetse Willie, on Tuesday charged with extortion by threats while Ndala faced an extra charge of impersonating a Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) agent in order to swindle the doctor of P2 million. However, the doctor did not pay the P2 million.

The four suspected criminals allegedly hatched the evil plan to defraud the doctor of his money five years ago.

They put the plan in motion in March 2018, with a call by Malebogo Balole to the doctor for him to make a home visit to attend to her two daughters aged 15 and 17 years of age.

According to court papers, on August 1st, 2018, Balole allegedly called Dr Letsunyane, who was her family medical doctor, to deliver medication for her daughter at her house in Phase 2, Gaborone.

It is alleged that when the old man arrived at Balole’s house, the daughter called him to her bedroom where he found her stark naked.

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Allegations are that Balole then budged into the daughter’s bedroom with a camera and started taking pictures of Letsunyane in a sexually indecent position with the young girl.

The mother then allegedly proceeded to extort P100,000 from the scared doctor, threatening to have him arrested if he did not pay up and to leak the pictures on social media.

On the second count, Tlagae is reported to have used a similar plan to Balole’s “on various dates, from 14th February, 2019 extorted P400 000 from Dr Letsunyane by threatening to post pictures of him and her 16-year-old daughter captured in an indecent position on Facebook and to tell the whole world that the doctor had allegedly had sex with a minor.

On the third count, Ndala, who is Malebogo’s boyfriend, on the dates between March and April 2019, with the intention to defraud Dr Letsunyane of some money, claimed to be a DIS agent sent by the Director General, Peter Magosi, to demand a payment of a whopping P2 million.

When the doctor refused to pay up this time around, the couple came back with yet another plan and a demand for a reduced amount.

On the last count, Tlagae and Ndala from 14th February, 2019 and 6th June, 2019 acting jointly with a common purpose extorted P495 000 from Dr Letsunyane by threatening to impound his Mercedes Benz and have his pictures published in which he was indecently dressed and in the company of a minor, a daughter to Tlagae.

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In cross-examination, Tlagae and Ndala’s lawyer, Noah Rutherford, argued that no pictures were found in the phones of his clients during investigations. He also questioned the authenticity of proof of payments for some of the money, which was collected from the doctor’s surgery, and argued that the said receipts were not submitted as evidence.

Representing herself, Balole said she had nothing to do with her putting her daughter in a compromising position with the doctor, adding that there was no evidence linking her to the extortion offence.

However, in his answering submission, the Investigating Officer, Detective Senior Superintendent Sargent Marapo, argued that although police forensic experts did not find the said pictures in the suspects’ phones, there is indisputable proof that money was paid into their accounts by Dr Letsunyane.

Marapo also said that the quartet had bought a Ford Ranger, two BMWs, cell phones and televisions immediately after Dr Letsunyane paid the money into their accounts.

Meanwhile, the court learnt that the implicated teenagers were taken to a safe place following their parents’ arrest.

Adding to the drama was the mention in court that the 16-year-old was found to be pregnant by a caretaker at the safe place and it turned out that a police officers’ son impregnated her. However, her mother had subsequently terminated the pregnancy, the court was told.

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Meanwhile, Detective Senior Superintendent Sargent Marapo brought cellphones, a fridge, television sets and cars suspected to have been some of the items bought with proceeds from this crime as exhibits before court.

Superintendent Sargent Marapo also provided Dr Letsunyane’s bank statements to prove inflows of the money into some of the accused person’s accounts.

The court is yet to set a date for ruling.

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