Botswana: Board Expresses Concern Over Altered Report

Mahalapye — The board of enquiry into the derailment of Botswana Railways (BR) passenger train 0501 has expressed concern that gang leader Mr Leano Koomantswe's statement in the civil derailment report form was altered.

Speaking during the ongoing public enquiry into the December 2019 accident on Tuesday, the board said the cancellations and modifications made to the form rendered the report not understandable.

Testifying, BR track master, Mr Author Monna, said he assisted Mr Koomantswe to fill in the form but claimed ignorance of who made the cancellations and alterations.

During his testimony last month, Mr Koomantswe had said he managed to fill the form with Mr Monna's assistance.

Mr Monna confirmed that he was instructed by BR permanent way inspector (North), Mr Mothibedi Selotate to assist Mr Koomantswe "as he was supposed to fill in the form for a derailment report, but he clearly did not know how to fill in the form".

A board member, Mr Gofaone Morweng expressed concern that "the handwriting on the form is way different, which shows that the form was filled in by two different individuals".

Mr Koomantswe's other form, BR/CM 043, in the form of a memorandum, was also altered observed Mr Morweng.

However Mr Monna denied knowledge of the second form.

Mr Morweng also expressed concern that Mr Monna did not advise Mr Koomantswe that the form was incomplete as it was not signed.

"It's now that I am seeing it. But, for the civil derailment report form, what I know about it is that I assisted the gang leader to fill in the form," he said in response to Mr Morweng's question on whether it was his first time for him to see the two documents.

Another witness, Mr Gaolatheope Kudumane confirmed the breakdown of two trucks at Bonwapitse.

He said the trucks' drivers informed him that the water level at Bonwapitse whereupon he ordered them to abandon the vehicles as he felt conditions were not safe for them.

Mr Kudumane said he then informed his supervisor Mr Baboloki Phuthego and requested that security officers be deployed at the site to guard the vehicles overnight.

"That was done, security was deployed at the site," he said.

He said he also suggested the halting of train movements as the water situation posed danger but never got feedback from Mr Phuthego.

Source : BOPA

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