- Police wants to hand over the keys but compensation issues arise
- Phase 2 survivor rejects keys and advises police to deal with house owner
- Accused’s lawyer Ngakaagae says police have a duty to restore ruined house
- Minister says assuming responsibility will depend on whether owner was complicit in the crimes
Following the killing of suspected cash-in-transit robbers at a Gaborone Phase 2 house in February this year, a new dispute over repairs to the house and loss of business, among other things has arised.
A police source says the dispute erupted when the police wanted to hand over the house but did not know whether to hand the keys to the owner or the female survivor of the killings who was a tenant at the house.
“She rejected the keys and urged the police to now deal with the owner of the house,” the source told The Botswana Gazette.
“I am informed that the owner wants compensation from the state for damage to the house and loss of business for the time the house was under police custody,” said our source.
According to survivor’s lawyer, Kgosi Ngakaagae, at some point his client told him that the police had informed her that they wanted to hand over the house keys to her.
“I told her to tell the police to deliver the keys to the house owner,” said Ngakaaagae. “She does not own that house but was a tenant.
“The police must take responsibility for everything that happened at that house. They have achieved their law enforcement objective and must take responsibility and do the right thing.
Asked whether he had ever spoken to the house owner, Ngakaagae answered in the negative. “He/she must go to the police commissioner and demand his/her house back and he/she must demand the house in its original state,” he said.
“He/she never committed any robbery, never held any gun and never threatened anyone’s life.”
But the Minister of Defence and Justice, Kagiso Mmusi, says a determination is yet to be made about whether house owner was complicit in the commission of the crime.
“We are still to establish whether he/she was a partner in the crimes committed, which will determine whether the state takes full responsibility or not,” Minister Mmusi said in an interview.
“That is whether he/she was aware that the house was being used for such criminal activities or not.”
It is understood that the house is still under police custody.
Asked about the present status of the crime scene, police spokesman Dipheko Motube was rather terse, saying only that investigations are ongoing.
However, former deputy police commissioner Kenny Kapinga agrees with the survivor’s lawyer that from the point of the law, the one who caused the damage should take responsibility and undo the damage and back the expenses later if the house is insured.
“But these entitlements fall off if the owner was a partner in the crime,” Kapinga said.
Efforts to speak to the house owner did not bear fruit at the time of going to press.
The robbery suspects who were killed in the incident were Batswana and South Africans aged between 20 and 35 years, according to a police statement released after the incident.
“Eleven armed men attacked and robbed a Security Systems cash-in-transit motor vehicle of over P986 000 at the Main Mall this morning,” said the statement.
“The robbers fled the scene and were, later on, followed and confronted by the police and an exchange of fire ensued, resulting in fatal injuries to some of the robbers.
“Police have in the process arrested a 30-year-old Motswana woman who was in the company of the robbers.”
According to the statement, the deceased robbery suspects were found to have been in possession of four pistols and an AK-47 assault rifle while an undisclosed amount of cash was recovered from the scene.