Cops nabbed over miss­ing of­fi­cer

. . . as let­soepa fate hangs in the bal­ance

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - ‘Marafaele Mohloboli and Pas­cali­nah Kabi

A SPECIAL po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing team has ar­rested two Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS) mem­bers in con­nec­tion with the dis­ap­pear­ance of Po­lice Con­sta­ble (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng (pic­tured far right) in a move with seis­mic im­pli­ca­tions for Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Mo­lahlehi Let­soepa who is cur­rently ne­go­ti­at­ing exit terms with the gov­ern­ment.

Im­pec­ca­ble sources told the Le­sotho Times yes­ter­day that a third LMPS mem­ber had also been ar­rested in Ma­put­soe yes­ter­day ahead of the hearing of a High Court case to­mor­row in which PC Khetheng’s fa­ther wants the LMPS to be com­pelled to re­lease him dead or alive.

Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa’s al­leged fail­ure to in­ves­ti­gate PC Khetheng’s dis­ap­pear­ance in March 2016 was among the rea­sons cited in a “show cause” let­ter from the gov­ern­ment for why he should be dis­missed two weeks ago.

Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane’s spokesper­son, Thabo Thakalekoala, yes­ter­day told this pub­li­ca­tion Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa is cur­rently ne­go­ti­at­ing exit terms with the gov­ern­ment.

Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa, who is on a forced 90-day forced leave, last week pleaded with Dr Tha­bane for an early re­tire­ment to pre­vent the con­se­quent loss of ben­e­fits that come with a dis­missal.

How­ever, it re­mains to be seen if Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa’s wishes will be granted given that some sec­tions of the gov­ern­ment want the top cop to “ac­count” for his al­leged trans­gres­sions since his ap­point­ment on 3 Novem­ber 2015.

In ad­di­tion to al­legedly fail­ing to probe the Khetheng case, Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa is also ac­cused of fail­ing to probe the 30 Au­gust 2014 killing of Sub-in­spec­tor Mokhe­seng Ramahloko and the 25 June 2015 fa­tal shoot­ing of for­mer Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) com­man­der Lt-gen Maa­parankoe Ma­hao.

Sub-in­spec­tor Ramahloko was on duty at Po­lice Head­quar­ters dur­ing a 30 Au­gust 2014 LDF raid on Maseru po­lice sta­tions.

Dr Tha­bane, who had fled to South Africa on the eve of the raid, de­scribed the oper­a­tion as an at­tempted coup. How­ever, the LDF said it was a special oper­a­tion to foil a LMPS plan to give civil­ians firearms for use dur­ing a Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy protest march that was sched­uled for 1 Septem­ber 2014.

Lt-gen Ma­hao was shot dead by his erst­while LDF col­leagues on 25 June 2015 in Mokema, with the mil­i­tary claim­ing he was re­sist­ing ar­rest for al­legedly plot­ting to over­throw the army com­mand.

How­ever, Lt-gen Ma­hao’s fam­ily has ac­cused the army of killing

him in cold blood bas­ing on the ac­count of his neph­ews who were with him dur­ing the in­ci­dent.

The Dr Tha­bane-led gov­ern­ment has since wrung changes in the LMPS since its in­au­gu­ra­tion in June this year, with Deputy Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Holomo Moli­beli be­ing ap­pointed act­ing po­lice com­mis­sioner last month, which is seen by those privy to mat­ter as a pre­cur­sor to tak­ing over from Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa.

The shake up in the po­lice has also seen the re­call­ing of 21 LMPS mem­bers who were sacked for var­i­ous rea­sons by Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa.

PC Khetheng was sta­tioned in Mokhot­long and last seen be­ing ar­rested by his col­leagues at a feast in Se­both­oane, Leribe on 25 March 2016. This is ac­cord­ing to pa­pers filed on 18 July 2016 by his fa­ther in the High Court case to com­pel his bosses to re­lease him dead or alive that will be heard to­mor­row.

PC Khetheng had been ar­rested and charged on al­le­ga­tions he torched the house of his su­pe­rior in Mokhot­long dis­trict where he was de­ployed.

He was al­legedly last seen with In­spec­tor Mo­folo, PC Ntoane, PC ‘Mabohlokoa Mako­toko and Se­nior In­spec­tor Ma­tona.

In­spec­tor Mo­folo and PC Ntoana — were ar­rested in Leribe yes­ter­day by a special in­ves­ti­gat­ing team.

Po­lice claim he left the Hlotse po­lice sta­tion with­out per­mis­sion and they did not know where he was. But the Khetheng fam­ily ar­gues that the po­lice must know where he is be­cause they ar­rested him.

Ac­cord­ing to sources privy to the mat­ter, the in­ves­ti­gat­ing team yes­ter­day trav­elled from Po­lice Head­quar­ters in Maseru to Hlotse, Leribe to get a po­lice docket on PC Khetheng’s dis­ap­pear­ance.

“Upon ar­rival, the in­ves­ti­gat­ing team ar­rested In­spec­tor Mo­folo and PC Ntoana and drove back to Mas- eru with them,” said a po­lice source.

An­other source added: “They were asked to travel with the in­ves­ti­gat­ing team to help the po­lice with in­ves­ti­ga­tions as they try to get to the bot­tom of PC Khetheng’s dis­ap­pear­ance.”

LMPS spokesper­son, In­spec­tor Mpiti Mopeli, last night con­firmed the ar­rests, although he would not be drawn to di­vulge names.

“Two po­lice of­fi­cers have been brought in to help po­lice with in­ves­ti­ga­tions though we may not dis­close their names and this is not just them as there are other peo­ple who are also help­ing to this ef­fect. In­ves­ti­ga­tions are still on­go­ing,” he said.

PC Mako­toko was among the 21 re­called LMPS mem­bers that had been fired by Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa.

She had been fired for mis­con­duct af­ter chal­leng­ing in the High Court of her trans­fer to Tlalinyane Po­lice Post in Leribe dis­trict.

In her court pa­pers, PC Mako­toko claimed that af­ter ar­rest­ing PC Khetheng, they were or­dered by In­spec­tor Mo­folo not to take PC Khetheng to the Hlotse hold­ing cells.

They how­ever took him to the same Hlotse po­lice sta­tion where he was later driven away.

PC Mako­toko said a day af­ter the ar­rest, she re­ceived nu­mer­ous calls from col­leagues ask­ing where PC Khetheng was. She said she be­came sus­pi­cious and asked In­spec­tor Mo­folo who had or­dered them not to take Khetheng to Hlotse. PC Mako­toko said she did not be­lieve her su­pe­rior’s ex­pla­na­tion and later heard ru­mours that Khetheng had been killed.

PC Mako­toko fur­ther said she was called to the Law Of­fice in Maseru where she was asked to lie about the ar­rest and dis­ap­pear­ance of PC Khetheng, but she re­fused and even­tu­ally dis­missed for mis­con­duct.

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