Po­lice grill Ntoi

. . . army spokesper­son per­son of in­ter­est in crim­i­nal probes

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

LE­SOTHO De­fence Force (LDF) Public Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer, Bri­gadier Ntlele Ntoi is a per­son of in­ter­est in on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions of var­i­ous un­re­solved crimes re­lated to the mil­i­tary.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice spokesper­son, In­spec­tor Mpiti Mopeli, Brig Ntoi was sum­moned to po­lice head­quar­ters on Mon­day and Tues­day to as­sist with in­ves­ti­ga­tions into var­i­ous un­re­solved crimes.

After each in­ter­ro­ga­tion ses­sion, Brig Ntoi was re­leased al­though he may still be sum­moned again since in­ves­ti­ga­tions are on­go­ing, said Insp Mopeli.

The po­lice spokesper­son would, how­ever, not be drawn to di­vulge more de­tails on the cases that needed Mr Ntoi’s as­sis­tance.

“I can safely say that he re­ported to the po­lice this week but cur­rently I am not in a po­si­tion to dis­close the na­ture of in­ves­ti­ga­tions we needed him for. It’s only when we are done that I shall know whether he shall be charged or not charged,” said Insp Mopeli.

LDF deputy spokesper­son, Lieu­tenant-colonel Mashili Mashili, con­firmed the sum­mon­ing of Brig Ntoi to this pub­li­ca­tion.

“At the mo­ment we don’t know why he was called and if there are any charges that will be pre­ferred against him,” Lt-col Mashili said.

Army of­fi­cers who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity said Brig Ntoi may be an im­por­tant source of in­for­ma­tion in mat­ters un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion as an ac­com­plice wit­ness as he may not nec­es­sar­ily have par­tic­i­pated in crim­i­nal op­er­a­tions but knew about them.

As army spokesper­son, Brig Ntoi con­sis­tently re­futed al­le­ga­tions the army was in­volved in any crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties.

Part of his job at LDF in­cludes mon­i­tor­ing the me­dia, brief­ing and pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal ad­vice to man­age­ment on how to han­dle and man­age me­dia con­tent, in ad­di­tion to how to ‘co­op­er­ate’ with the me­dia.

Sources close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tions have told the Le­sotho Times that Brig Ntoi was quizzed over crimes com­mit­ted un­der the ten­ure of for­mer LDF com­man­der, Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli.

Lt-gen Kamoli was appointed as army boss in April 2012 but was forced out in De­cem­ber last year amid in­tense pres­sure from Le­sotho’s de­vel­op­ment part­ners and the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC). His ten­ure at the helm of the LDF was char­ac­terised by po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity in­sta­bil­ity in Le­sotho which prompted the in­ter­ven­tion of SADC on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions.

Lt-gen Kamoli has since been charged with the mur­der of Sub-in­spec­tor Mokhe­seng Ramahloko dur­ing a 30 Au­gust 2014 army raid to dis­arm three key Maseru po­lice sta­tions which was deemed an at­tempted coup by Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane.

The raid was con­ducted soon after Dr Tha­bane had fired Lt-gen Kamoli as LDF chief, a de­ci­sion which the lat­ter re­sisted. The for­mer army boss also faces 14 counts of at­tempted mur­der for the 27 Jan­uary 2014 si­mul­ta­ne­ous bomb­ings of the Moshoeshoe II homes of First Lady Mae­siah Tha­bane, ‘Mamoshoeshoe Mo­let­sane and the Ha Abia res­i­dence of for­mer po­lice com- mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana. Brig Ntoi’s in­ter­ro­ga­tion comes in the wake of mul­ti­ple ar­rests and charg- ing of sol­diers im­pli­cated in var­i­ous crimes, in­clud­ing the 9 July 2016 near fatal shoot­ing of Le­sotho Times Ed­i­tor Lloyd Mu­tungamiri on.

Mr Mu­tungamiri was shot nu­mer­ous times as he was ar­riv­ing at his Ha-thamae res­i­dence from work in the late hours of 9 July 2016. One of the bul­lets shat­tered his jaw and had to be sur­gi­cally re­moved. Mr Mu­tungamiri also un­der­went jaw re­con­struc­tion surgery.

Bri­gadier Rapele Mphaki, Khut­lang Mochesane, Ma­hanyane Pha­sumane, Ny­atso Tšoe­un­yane and Maribe Nathane, were last week charged by the Mag­is­trate’s Court with at­tempted mur­der over the shoot­ing and re­manded in cus­tody. The five, who in­clude a bri­gadier, are ex­pected ap­pear again be­fore the Mag­is­trate’s Court for a re­mand hear­ing on 13 De­cem­ber 2017.

Eight sol­diers were also charged with the 25 June 2015 killing of for­mer army com­man­der, Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Maa­parankoe Ma­hao.

Lt-gen Ma­hao was fa­tally shot by his erst­while LDF col­leagues on 25 June 2015 just out­side Maseru. The LDF claimed Lt-gen Ma­hao had re­sisted ar­rest for al­legedly lead­ing a mutiny when he was killed.

How­ever, Lt-gen Ma­hao’s fam­ily ac­cused the army of killing him in cold blood bas­ing on the ac­count of his neph­ews who were with him dur­ing the in­ci­dent.

LDF PRO Bri­gadier Ntlele Ntoi.

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