Sechotlho’s missing medical files
It has been three months since Thabang Sechotlho was shot dead by the police over the Christmas holidays. The shooting of Sechotlho has compelled Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central Dr Phenyo Butale to push a motion to advocate for an independent police investigation directorate.
He informed this publication that the motion has been noticed and would be tabled in the winter parliamentary seating.
The directorate whose role would be to ensure independent oversight over the Botswana Police, the Criminal Investigations Division, Serious Crime Squad and paramilitary Special Support Group and to conduct independent and impartial investigations of identified criminal offences allegedly committed by members of the said forces and make appropriate recommendations, would come at a time when the society is questioning police conduct.
The most recent shooting of Sechotlho by police has moved opposition parliamentarians and some members of the community to advocate for an authoritative body over the forces.
The Sechotlho family’s independent pathologists still cry foul over the missing contents of a medical docket which forms part and parcel of the complete autopsy report which still remains missing from Princess Marina Hospital.
The police have been accused of having a hand in the mysterious disappearance of Sechotlho’s check- in file which details the police account on how the young man was shot and wounded during their apprehension. This missing file contains details of Sechotlho’s medical condition when he was checked in at the emergency ward.
At the time, the police had already informed the family that Sechotlho was shot and died on the spot while claiming the responsibility, a close relative has said.
In contradiction, the missing check-in files at Princess Marina told a different story, according to pathologists who were attending the matter at the time. Sechotlho is said to have checked in alive and provided his personal details to hospital officials on duty on the date.
Independent pathologists engaged by the family have disclosed that on the day of the autopsy the missing files were exchanging hands in the theatre room where police officers and the hospital’s forensic doctors were all present.
“It still remains baffling how the contents of this report went missing since we all saw them and the police were on record, accounting that Sechotlho arrived alive as they were with him,” he points out.
“Now it remains an enigma since the questionable contradiction has been why they informed the man’s family that he died on the spot while he had checked in at the hospital alive. This raises issues of suspicion as to what are they really trying to cover up, that they shot a man and he died on the spot or hospital? It raises questions about their intentions.”
A source close to the scene mentions that the only way the case was going to be able to move for an independent prosecution is if the police produce the missing-files. Lawyer Dick Bayford is the family’s representative in the case, pro bono. Dr Motsholathebe Phuthego could not comment on the matter citing that investigations were still on- going to establish what could have happened with the missing files.
Police Spokesperson Christopher Mbulawa informed this publication that the police are still investigating the matter and said that he was not aware of the purported missing files of the hospital autopsy. He refused to confirm reports that the Sechotlho shooting was a case of mistaken identity but held his ground that they were still in search of more details.
“I’m not aware of any case of missing files because our investigation docket does not stay at Marina nor do police officers make our statements at the hospital,” Mbulawa said, citing that their own docket was satisfactory for them to proceed with investigations.
Meanwhile the Sechotlho family is still waiting and hoping that answers surrounding their son’s death could be availed for them.