Police taken to task over missing man
Tough questions are being asked at the Lobatse High Court over a suspect who went missing while in police custody in 2011. Olifile Momphitlhe, 38, disappeared without a trace and his family are demanding answers.
His mother Sarah, 59, has vowed not to leave any stone unturned in seeking justice for her missing son and has roped in Martin Dingake of Dingake Attorneys to ask hard hitting questions to every police officer brought before court and believed to have had any contact with his son.
Speaking to The Voice during court recess, she said the police were taking things for granted.
She said she is adamant that despite denials by the police they know what happened to her son.
“I want my son dead or alive. The police are wasting my time. He was the breadwinner, and he left two kids. I am a poor woman who can’t fend for herself. Please ask them to bring my son even if it means bringing bones I will accept them. At least I will find closure” she sobbed.
Police Commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe gave testimony in court where he said his charges are investigating a case of a missing person adding that they had engaged Interpol to help to search for Momphitlhe.
“No country has any knowledge of the whereabouts of Momphitlhe,” he said.
He further told court that he was not aware of how the suspect went missing from lawful custody and that he was briefed by his officers that when Momphitlhe was detained at Molepolole Police an occurrence book and Cell Registrar went missing.
The disappearance of these books according to Makgophe was recorded by then investigating Officer Milton Mabenge.
He said he was clueless as to why these particular books went missing the same day Momphitlhe disappeared.
The court also heard from witnesses that police might be not be telling the truth about the whereabouts of the missing person. Mothusi Popego (34) shocked the court when he said the police took Momphitlhe from a holding cell hand cuffed to an unknown place.
He also claimed that the police had before threatened to kill Momphitlhe.
“The police said they were going to kill Momphitlhe if he did not tell them where the money which was stolen from a Chinese shop was. I saw them putting him in the boot of a Toyota Conquest. He was handcuffed and had leg irons . He was screaming for help,” he told the court.
One of the witnesses who was also in custody with Mompitlhe revealed that a cell phone belonging to one of his accomplices was purportedly used by the police to send a text message.
This was despite the fact that the owner of the phone was also in custody at the time.
The text message was sent to his younger brother Modise and it said he should tell their mother that he has gone to South Africa and will be back in 2012.
The case continues.