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SUSPECTED HITMAN: Hamadi Mkhuha

Court withdraws murder suspect’s confession

Gaborone High Court judge, Michael Leburu, on Monday ruled that Hamadi Mkhuha’s murder confession statement was inadmissible in court.

Mkhuha and Ernest Legwale are accused of the murder of Thato Meswele, which occurred in 2015 in Oodi. Legwale allegedly hired two hitmen, Mkhuha and Zwichanaka Dabie, who is still on the run, to kill his wife, Dimpho Meswele, but instead the two mistakenly killed the wife’s younger sister.

Dimpho and Legwale were in the process of a divorce.

Mkhuha had confessed to the murder, admitting that Legwale paid him and Dabie to kill his wife. He claimed he was paid more than P20 000 and also given a BMW car and that the other hitman, Dabie, was paid more than P15 000. Mkhuha is facing another charge of entering the country at an ungazetted point.

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MAIN SUSPECT: Legwale

In the last court session in the ongoing trial, Mkhuha’s Defence Attorney, Letlhogonolo Makgane, questioned the authenticity of a confession statement made by his client. The defence attorney said the confession statement said to have been recorded from Hamadi Mkhuha was unlawfully recorded, therefore must not be admitted as part of the prosecution evidence.

“The confession was not voluntarily made as the investigating officer, Detective Senior Superintendent, Sergeant Marapo, had promised to turn his client into an accomplice witness. The confession statement was not recorded in the language used by the accused person. My client delivered the confession statement in Shona whereas it was recorded in English. The statement presented before court was not in its original form,” said Makgane.

However, the star witness for the prosecution, Chief Magistrate Gaseitsewe Tonoki, said the confession was done through specific questions which were asked in English and then translated into Shona language.

He said he advised the accused that he was not at liberty to confess and further told him that if he confessed, such confession would be written down and later used against him at his trial. Tonoki told court that, consequently, upon such advice, Mkhuha opted to confess before the judicial officer.

LUCKY TO BE ALIVE: Dimpho

Delivering the ruling, Judge Leburu said the statement by the investigating officer to the effect that he wanted Mkhuha to be a witness, rendered him pliable to make a confession. Leburu said the accused was induced to make a confession statement hoping that he was going to be turned into a state witness.

“On this ground alone, the confession statement is liable to be discarded. Consequently, the accused’s confession to the Chief Magistrate Tonoki was not freely and voluntary made, hence inadmissible,” ordered Leburu.

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