Letlhakeng Village Development Committee (VDC) members appeared before Molepolole Chief Magistrate, Goabaone Rammapudi, facing a charge of theft common after stealing money for Ipelegeng Programme.
According to court documents, the eight suspects- Florence Sebotso (38), Paper Dikwata (53), Simon Gaerupe (40) Bontle Keikantseng (48), Kebobonye Siamisang (36), Gasempusetse Phera (43), Maitseo Botsile (56) all from Goo-Modimo ward and Mmapula Letamora (42) from Moiphisi ward between September 1st, 2018 and March 31st, 2019 acting jointly and in common concert stole money amounting to P10 290.00 being the property of Letlhakeng Sub District Council.
The committee is accused of fraudulently registering people under the Ipelegeng Programme and sharing the salaries with the beneficiaries who never reported for duty.
It is alleged that each committee member has, every month since last year, registered two people and it was only realised after the first accused, Sebotso, registered a certain lady who later after getting paid refused to share the money with her.
“After failing to get her share, Sebotso connived with her police boyfriend and they beat up the said woman for refusing with the money. The assaulted woman then decided to report the issue to the police who later on called the committee for questioning,” explained a committee member who added: “During questioning the VDC explained how they defrauded the government and they were arrested.”
All the suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges and their defence attorney, Sesupo Masaka, convinced the court that since his clients have been cooperating with the state they should be granted a free bail.
The Chief Magistrate granted the accused a free bail and ordered the prosecution to serve them with statements and summary of the case before the final case management conference set for August 19th, 2019.