Security beefed up for cop handling ‘insurance murder’ case

As 49-year-old Agnes Setshwantsho, accused of killing her niece for an insurance payout, made her court appearance for bail on Wednesday, concerns around the safety of the top cop in her investigation and officials dominated the discussion.

Faces murder, fraud and defeating the ends of justice charges

Setshwantsho is facing a charge of murder for the death of her relative, Bonolo Modiseemang. She had taken out an insurance policy worth R3-million on the victim’s life. She is also facing two counts of fraud and one charge of defeating the ends of justice.

She is also under investigation for the deaths of her husband, brother and three children, who all died mysteriously.

The security of lead investigator in Setshwantsho’s case, Sergeant Keshi Mabunda, has been beefed up as concerns around his safety mount. 

Mabunda – who appeared in the Molopo magistrate’s court in Mmabatho, North West, for Setshwantsho’s bail hearing – was accompanied by members of the tactical response team.

Mabunda is target of criminals whose cases he’s investigating

According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), there are fears around Mabunda’s well-being. This is because he is apparently the target of criminals whose cases he’s investigating. As a result, his security has been beefed up.

National spokesperson for the police Brigadier Athlenda Mathe confirmed the threats. She said while Mabunda’s role in handling high-profile cases has earned him exposure, accolades and recognition, it has also exposed his identity.

“[His identity] is exposed to everyone including possible suspects that he may be investigating to solve cases where people are killing relatives for insurance payouts.

Extra security measure

“This is an extra measure that the SAPS has put in place. He deals with these sensitive matters and the high-profile cases that he is solving expose him in the media domain. So it’s easy to identify him. This is just an extra measure that we have applied as management to secure his safety,” she said.

Sergeant Keshi Mabunda, the lead investigator in Setshwantsho’s case, is apparently a target of those he’s investigating

Setshwantsho will spend Christmas and New Year’s Day behind bars at Rooigrond Prison in Mahikeng. Her case was postponed to January 11 for further bail hearing.

North West National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Henry Mamothame said in a statement that the state is expected to re-examine Mabunda. This will be after the defence has completed its cross-examination.

Second witness

“The state is also expected to call on its second witness from the correctional facility where the accused is detained. It emerged in court that this witness received death threats from the accused. An investigation is being conducted by the Hawks,” he said.

Mamothame said the police reported that on November 16, an intelligence operation led to the arrest of Setshwantsho on suspicion that she murdered her relatives to benefit from insurance claims.

“The suspect was traced and arrested in Centurion [in Tshwane] during a takedown operation led by the SAPS. This was in collaboration and full co-operation with an insurance company,” he said.

Linked to mysterious death

According to Mamothame, police further reported that the team was able to link its suspect to the team’s first focus of the case.  This was done through analysis and collection of evidence, including the exhumation of a body.

“According to the police report, the murder was initially ruled a ‘natural death’ happened in Mmabatho, in North West. A female relative died under mysterious circumstances in March. Investigations have revealed that the suspect fraudulently took out [life] insurance on behalf of her relative before her murder. Police are conducting further investigations with the possibility of adding more charges against the accused,” he said.

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