State Applies For Arson Murder Case Withdrawal

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The State has made an application for the withdrawal of a case in which a Botswana Defence Force (BDF) soldier is facing two counts of arson and murder. Lance Corporal Thabang Kgolagano is accused of having caused a fire that gutted down a 25-men barracks at the Maun BDF base, leading to the death of another soldier, Victor Watlala.

Appearing before court this week for status update, state prosecution pleaded to be given more time as they have made an application to the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) for withdrawal of the matter arguing that the evidence have gathered against the accused person was not sufficient.

The accused person opted to remain silent, and will appear on the 29th July 2024 for status update.

Kgolagano, whose plea has been reserved is suspected to have intentionally and unlawfully set on fire the residential houses on September  8th last year around midnight and consequently caused the death of 43-year-old Watlala who was also a lance corporal at the Maun BDF camp.

It is alleged that the accused person had a misunderstanding with his colleague while outside the camp, and the fracas continued when inside the base. It is alleged that Kgolagano then tried to torch his colleague’s house but the fire spread to other rooms in the block, burning the entire 25 men barracks with most properties inside reduced to ashes.

The deceased, who was sleeping in his room was discovered badly burnt, and the accused person was subsequently arrested.

The accused person was on the 21st October 2021 granted bail on conditions that he finds himself with P2 500 and provide two sureties at P2 500 fee each. He was also ordered not to interfere with state witnesses.

During bail arguments previously, Kgolagano’s defence attorney, Andrew Johannes argued that the accused person was eligible for bail as he would not temper with evidence. He stressed that some of the witnesses who were not there at the time of the incident do not have much impact that contributes to the matter as they will be only giving out information about their properties that they lost during the fire.

State prosecutor Khani Khani had objected the accused person’s bail application indicating that investigations on the matter were at an initial stage adding that the state needed time to complete counselling of some of the staff members who resided in the 25 men block that was burnt.

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