Of­fi­cer de­nies Khetheng mur­der charge

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

SUS­PENDED po­lice of­fi­cer, Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent (SSP) Thabo Tšukulu, has de­nied ac­cu­sa­tions that he was part of the con­spir­acy to kill Po­lice Con­sta­ble (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng in March last year.

SSP Tšukulu also de­nied be­ing at Ha-mokhalinyane in Maseru ru­ral where the al­leged mur­der of PC Khetheng took place.

SSP Tšukulu was tes­ti­fy­ing in his marathon High Court bail ap­pli­ca­tion. He has ap­plied to be re­leased on bail from the Maseru Cen­tral Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tute where he is await­ing trial on charges of mur­der­ing PC Khetheng.

He is jointly charged with for­mer De­fence Min­is­ter, Tšeliso Mokhosi, and other po­lice of­fi­cers, namely, Se­nior In­spec­tor Mabi­tle Ma­tona (39) of Butha-buthe, Ha Nqabeni, Sub In­spec­tor Ha­le­okoe Taa­soane (44) of Lipho­fung Mokhot­long and In­spec­tor Moth­ibeli Mo­folo (49).

Mr Mokhosi fled the coun­try upon his re­lease on bail, al­leg­ing he feared for his life.

They are charged with the mur­der of PC Khetheng at Ha-mokhalinyane on 26 March, 2016.

PC Khetheng was last seen alive while be­ing ar­rested by his col­leagues at a tra­di­tional feast in Se­both­oane, Leribe on 25 March 2016.

PC Khetheng had been ar­rested and charged on al­le­ga­tions that 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.

The LMPS had ar­gued that PC Khetheng had left the Hlotse po­lice sta­tion with­out per­mis­sion and they did not know where he was.

For its part, the Khetheng fam­ily ar­gued that the po­lice should know where he was be­cause they ar­rested him.

A body be­lieved to be that of PC Khetheng was ex­humed at Lepereng Ceme­tery in the Maseru dis­trict on 11 Au­gust this year af­ter the po­lice were granted a court order by the Mag­is­trate’s Court in light of the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into his dis­ap­pear­ance and sus­pected mur­der.

SSP Tšukulu (51), the Hlotse Po­lice Sta­tion Com­man­der was sub­se­quently ar­rested and charged along with the other three po­lice of­fi­cers with PC Khetheng’s mur­der.

They first ap­peared be­fore the Mag­is­trate’s Court on 8 Au­gust, 2017 and were re­manded in cus­tody by Chief Mag­is­trate ‘Matankiso Nthunya who ad­vised them to ap­ply for bail at the High Court.

The pros­e­cu­tion op­posed SSP Tšukulu’s bail ap­pli­ca­tion and called in wit­nesses, who in­cluded two po­lice of­fi­cers and a mem­ber of the Le­sotho Cor­rec­tional Ser­vice (LCS) to mo­ti­vate its op­po­si­tion to his bail ap­pli­ca­tion.

In his tes­ti­mony on Mon­day SSP Tšukulu told the High Court that he was not part of the con­spir­acy to kill PC Khetheng and urged the court to re­lease him on bail.

“I have never been at or near Ha-mokhalinyane at all,” SSP Tšukulu said.

“I have never been part of the con­spir­acy to kill any­body and there will be no ev­i­dence be­fore this hon­ourable court to prove that I con­spired to kill the de­ceased. Even if such ev­i­dence can be put be­fore this court, it would be a forged ev­i­dence,” he said.

He was re­spond­ing to a ques­tion by his lawyer Ad­vo­cate Karabo Mohau (KC), who asked whether or not he had been to Ha-mokhalinyane.

An­other ques­tion was whether or not he was part of the con­spir­acy to kill PC Mokalekale Khetheng.

SSP Tšukulu told High Court judge, Jus­tice Semapo Peete, that he had no in­ten­tion of ab­scond­ing if re­leased on bail be­cause he had mov­able and im­mov­able prop­erty that he could not risk los­ing.

He also said he wanted to be re­leased on bail be­cause he was not al­lowed ac­cess to all his books by the prison au­thor­i­ties.

He said he wanted ad­e­quate ac­cess to his three law books namely; Pro­ce­dure and Ev­i­dence Act of 1981, Con­sti­tu­tion of Le­sotho and the In­tro­duc­tion to Law.

He also said he did not have ac­cess to his lap­top in prison, which he used for his stud­ies with the Univer­sity of South Africa.

How­ever, dur­ing the cross ex­am­i­na­tion on Tues­day the lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the Crown, Ad­vo­cate Motšei Tlali, urged the court not to re­lease SSP Tšukulu on bail, al­leg­ing that he was a dis­hon­est wit­ness.

Ad­vo­cate Tlali said even if SSP Tšukulu was re­leased on bail, his wife would still take care of the fam­ily prop­erty that in­clude fields, an­i­mals and an or­chard at his Matelile home, as well as his res­i­dence in Khubetsoana.

Jus­tice Peete post­poned the case to 5 Oc­to­ber, 2017.

SUS­PENDED po­lice of­fi­cer Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Thabo Tšukulu.

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