Ma­hao fam­ily con­fronts po­lice boss

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

The fam­ily of slain for­mer army com­man­der, Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Maa­parankoe Ma­hao, has writ­ten a let­ter to Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Mo­lahlehi Let­soepa, de­mand­ing an up­date on in­ves­ti­ga­tions into their rel­a­tive’s killing.

Lt-gen Ma­hao was fa­tally shot by his col­leagues on 25 June 2015 just out­side Maseru. The Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) an­nounced Lt-gen Ma­hao was re­sist­ing ar­rest when he was killed, which the fam­ily has dis­missed as un­true.

Af­ter the killing, Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili asked the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) to help es­tab­lish the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the tragedy, re­sult­ing in a Com­mis­sion of In­quiry led by Jus­tice Mpa­phi Phumaphi of Botswana. The 10-mem­ber com­mis­sion car­ried out its in­ves­ti­ga­tions be­tween 31 Au­gust and 23 Oc­to­ber 2015. Dr Mo­sisili re­leased Jus­tice Phumaphi’s re­port in par­lia­ment on 8 Fe­bru­ary 2016.

The re­port, among oth­ers, rec­om­mends that the govern­ment should en­sure crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the for­mer com­man­der’s death “be pur­sued vig­or­ously and that the LMPS (Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vices) is em­pow­ered and re­sourced ac­cord­ingly”.

Jus­tice Phumaphi’s re­port fur­ther says the in­ves­ti­ga­tions “should be con­ducted ex­pe­di­tiously and com­pre­hen­sively with­out any hin­drance and that all phys- ical ev­i­dence be sur­ren­dered.”

The Com­mis­sion also rec­om­mended that “the fi­nal­ity of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions should lead to a trans­par­ent course of jus­tice”.

In a let­ter dated 22 March 2016, the Ma­haos want the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner to give them an up­date on the progress made by the po­lice fol­low­ing the re­port.

The let­ter, writ­ten by the fam­ily’s lawyer, King’s Coun­sel (KC) haae Phoofolo, reads: “You will re­call, Mr Com­mis­sioner, that be­fore the sit­ting of the SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry into the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the death of Lt-gen M Ma­hao, the de­ceased’s fam­ily had in­structed our of­fices to re­quest some progress re­port on the in­ves­ti­ga­tions re­gard­ing this death.

“In view of the com­plex­i­ties re­gard­ing the ac­qui­si­tion of cer­tain nec­es­sary ex­hibits from the mil­i­tary es­tab­lish­ment, it be­came ev­i­dently con­ve­nient that the re­sult and/or rec­om­men­da­tions of the Com­mis­sion would fa­cil­i­tate the con­tin­u­a­tion of in­ves­ti­ga­tions by your team of in­ves­ti­ga­tors as­signed to the de­ceased’s mat­ter.

“Now the Com­mis­sion has com­pleted the in­quiry and rec­om­men­da­tions are there to be im­ple­mented. Our con­cern, as lawyers of the fam­ily of Ma­hao, is the find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions of the Com­mis­sion on the mat­ter of the de­ceased’s ex­ter­mi­na­tion from the face of this earth by some el­e­ments of the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF).

“For your as­sis­tance and ease of ref­er­ence, we re­fer you to the Com­mis­sion’s main find­ings at para­graph 137 page 57 of 62 of the re­port, sub-para­graphs (g)– (h) thereto and page 59 of 62, sub-para­graph (s). We also re­fer you for the Com­mis­sion’s rec­om­men­da­tions to para­graph aph 138 (a) of the re­port.”

Sub-para­graphs (g) too (h) in ques­tion reads: “Thathat on bal­ance of prob­a­bil­i­ties, even if it is ac­cepted that he pointe­d­inted a pis­tol at one of the ar­restors,ors, ex­ces­sive force was used, par­tic­u­larly af­ter the first shot, which im­mo­bilised his right arm, m, thus, the ad­di­tional two shotss were un­nec­es­sary. There­fore,e, the de­gree of force used on the de­ceased was not com­men­su­rate to the dan­ger he posed with the pis­tol. That Bri­gadier Ma­hao died from bul­let wounds caused by three shots into his body from an AK47 ri­fle at point blank range.”

And sub-para­graph (s) reads: “The in­ves­ti­ga­tion on the death of Ma­hao has been stopped. The com­mis­sion is per­suaded to be­lieve that this move was cal­cu­lated to hide the fact that the LDF hin­dered the in­ves­ti­ga­tions. The facts are that the LDF re­fused to sur­ren­der phys­i­cal ev­i­dence (weapons and ve­hi­cles used and the de­ceased mo­bile phones).” Para­graph 138 (a) reads: “The govern­ment of Le­sotho should en­sure that crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions on the death of Bri­gadier Ma­hao be pur­sued vig­or­ously and that the LMPS is em­pow­ered and re­sourced ac­cord­ingly. The inves

tiga­tion should be con­ducted ex­pe­di­tiously and com­pre­hen­sively with­out any hin­drance and that all phys­i­cal ev­i­dence be sur­ren­dered. The fi­nal­ity of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions should lead to a trans­par­ent course of jus­tice.”

Ad­vo­cate Phoofolo (KC) says in con­clu­sion: “To this end, Mr Com­mis­sioner, we have been in­structed by Ma­hao’s fam­ily to in­quire about the progress so far made by your depart­ment in com­pli­ance with the above-quoted ref­er­ences of the Com­mis­sion’s re­port, and any other mat­ters rel­e­vant to the con­clu­sion of the said in­ves­ti­ga­tion with a view ul­ti­mately to place the sus­pects be­fore the court of law. We shall be grate­ful for your ur­gent at­ten­tion to this mat­ter and your re­sponse thereto.”

Mean­while, a date stamp on a copy of the let­ter in­di­cated that the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Le­gal Of­fice re­ceived the let­ter at 11am yes­ter­day.

how­ever, con­tacted for a com­ment late yes­ter­day, po­lice spokesper­son Clifford Molefe, said he could only con­firm the is­sue with his bosses to­day.

Se­nior In­spec­tor Molefe said he was not aware of the let­ter him­self.

Po­lice com­mis­sioner Mo­lahlehi let­soepa.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.