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Murder accused dismisses state evidence

31 May 2023

Accused person, Ernest Legwale, has dismissed as untrue state evidence that he hired the duo of Hamadi Mkhuha and Zwichanaka Dabie to kill Ms Thato Meswele.

Giving evidence in chief before Justice Michael Leburu of Gaborone High Court on Tuesday, Legwale said the state alleged that he had hired some people to kill his ex-wife, Dimpho Meswele, a mission which went wrong as the younger sister, Thato was murdered in a case believed to be mistaken identity.

“I had never planned or even hatched an operation to go and attack and kill anyone at Oodi, specifically Dimpho Meswele or the late Thato Meswele,” he said.

He said he never had any reason to plan such a crime, adding that the charge was fabricated by the state as he had never committed the alleged crime.

The accused added that evidence presented by the state  alleged that the divorce proceedings that were ongoing between him and Dimpho could have been the motive behind orchestrating the gruesome crime with the view of inheriting all what they had accrued as their estate.

Legwale, who is jointly charged for murder with Mkhuha, said after his arrest, the investing team brought into the interrogation room his alleged partner in crime and identified him as one of the men he hired to carry out the job.

However, Legwale stated that prior to the murder in question, he had met Mkhuha around June 2015 through one of his friends Mr William Mhiwatiwa and the duo appeared to be cousins. At the time, Legwale said he needed someone to repair his vehicle that was involved in an accident.

He said Mkhuha was not his close friend as alleged by the state and he knew him by the name Chinos.

He added that their second meeting was at a party in Mochudi where he was accompanied by among others Moses Morwagole and Mr Mhiwatiwa with other three men whom he had never met before.

While at the party, Legwale said he was disturbed by the view of a gun that was placed on top of a small table. He said Mr  Morwagole was told by an unknown man at the party that Mkhuwa wanted to do their job but he appeared to be a coward.

Legwale said what was more puzzling about his alleged involvement in the murder case was that he had never met one Zwichanaka Dabie even though he was mentioned in the investigations report as one of the men he had hired to execute the crime.

“I only got clarity of who Zwichanaka Dabie was recently through a newspaper report. His name also appear in the investigations report. I had never met that person,” said Legwale.

Furthermore, Legwale said the investigations report alleged that he paid the said hit men an amount of P15 000 adding that parts of the report stated that the payment was P20 000.

He denied paying anyone the alleged amount of money for executing any form of assignment on his behalf.

The accused further denied buying Dabie and Zwichanaka cellphones and communicating with them in preparation for the said murder incident.

He also denied borrowing a white corolla from one Edwin Mmusi for use by the hit men to travel to Oodi where they committed the crime.

Additionally Legwale said at some point he owned a BMW,  which he had bought from Neil Strachan and later sold it to Mr Morwagole in April 2015.

He said he sold the said vehicle as it was a source of conflict in his family.

“It is not true as alleged by the state that I sold the vehicle to take it out of the family estate as there was an ensuing divorce,” he said.

He also dismissed as untrue,  a statement by the investigating officer, Detective Senior Superintendent Sergeant Marapo, relating to him uttering the words that he had sent the men to bury a baboon head at his in-laws place in Oodi and not to commit the crime.

Legwale said after his arrest he was taken for interrogation at Broadhurst police on February 21, 2015 by a team of investigators which included Mr Marapo.

He said the interrogations were captured in a video, but the said video was never brought before court as part of the state evidence since it presented what they did not want.

Legwale said during the interrogation by the team of investigators he denied knowledge of what transpired in Oodi as he was not party to it.  

The accused person also told the court that he had never told the investigation officer that Mkhuha threatened him at gun point.

The case is ongoing and Legwale intends to call two witnesses to support his case.

His co-accused, Mkhuha on one hand opted to give unsworn evidence.

The duo of Legwale and Mkhuha and another not before court (Zwichanaka Dabie) are charged with the September 10, 2015 murder of Thato Meswele of Oodi. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Moshe Galeragwe

Location : Gaborone

Event : Court

Date : 31 May 2023