Maseru prison se­cu­rity ‘breached’

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

TWO se­nior Le­sotho Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices (LCS) of­fi­cers have been sus­pended pend­ing the out­come of po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions into a pos­si­ble breach of se­cu­rity at the Maseru Cen­tral Prison af­ter a safe con­tain­ing the keys of the cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity was al­legedly tam­pered with.

The Act­ing Com­mis­sioner of Le­sotho Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices, Tha­bang Mothepu, dis­closed this at a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day in Maseru.

Com­mis­sioner Mothepu said the two of­fi­cers “of the rank of su­per­in­ten­dent and as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent have been in­ter­dicted pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into this mat­ter”.

He said they had also en­gaged the po­lice and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ser­vices (NSS) as well as an in­de­pen­dent ex­pert to as­cer­tain whether or not the safe could still be used.

Some well-placed sources al­lege this could have been an in­side job which has po­ten­tially far-reach­ing con­se­quences for the se­cu­rity of the in­sti­tu­tion given that some of the high pro­file inmates cur­rently in cus­tody in­clude the mur­der-ac­cused for­mer army com­man­der, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli.

Po­lice spokesper­son, In­spec­tor Mpiti Mopeli, this week con­firmed to the Le­sotho Times that they had re­ceived a re­port from the Le­sotho Cor­rec­tional Ser­vice of the in­ci­dent which re­port­edly oc­curred on Mon­day.

“Po­lice are busy in­ves­ti­gat­ing a case in which the safe that con­tains the keys to all the hold­ing cells in the Maseru Cen­tral Prison could have been tam­pered with,” In­spec­tor Mopeli said, adding, “This be­came ap­par­ent when the in­sti­tu­tion’s boss tried in vain to open the safe on Mon­day”.

In­spec­tor Mopeli how­ever, said noth­ing had been taken from the safe.

For his part, Le­sotho Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Spokesper­son, Su­per­in­ten­dent Neo Mopeli, said, “The Dis­trict Com­man­der found that the safe had been tam­pered with upon ar­rival on Mon­day when he wanted to ac­cess the safe which is pro­tected by a se­cret code of num­bers”.

“It was when ac­cess was de­nied that he re­alised there were some scratch marks on the seal.

“How­ever, no sus­pects have been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with this in­ci­dent but we are bank­ing on po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions as it is a se­cu­rity mat­ter that needs han­dling with ut­most cau­tion,” Sup. Mopeli said.

Lt-gen Kamoli is in cus­tody await­ing trial over the mur­der of po­lice Sub-in­spec­tor Mokhe­seng Ramahloko who was fa­tally shot dur­ing the 30 Au­gust 2014 at­tempted coup against the first gov­ern­ment of Prime Min- is­ter Thomas Tha­bane.

A num­ber of sol­diers, un­der Lt-gen Kamoli’s com­mand, stormed var­i­ous po­lice sta­tions and seized arms they claimed were to be used against civil­ians at a Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) rally that same week­end.

How­ever, Dr Tha­bane’s gov­ern­ment charged that Lt-gen Kamoli launched his coup at­tempt in re­ac­tion to his dis­missal by the Prime Min­is­ter a day ear­lier.

Three other army of­fi­cers namely, Cap­tain Litekanyo Nyakane (38), Lance Cor­po­ral Mot­lo­h­eloa Nt­sane (34) and Lance Cor­po­ral Leut­soa Mot­sieloa (31) are charged with Lt- Gen Kamoli with the mur­der of Sub-in­spec­tor Ramahloko. The three are in de­ten­tion with Lt-gen Kamoli at the Maseru Max­i­mum Prison.

In ad­di­tion, Lt-gen also faces 14 at­tempted mur­der charges stem­ming from the 27 Jan­uary 2014 si­mul­ta­ne­ous bomb­ings of the Moshoeshoe II homes of First Lady Mae­siah Tha­bane, one ‘Mamoshoeshoe Mo­let­sane, and the Ha Abia res­i­dence of for­mer po­lice com­mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana.

The for­mer army com­man­der orig­i­nally ap­plied for bail on 20 Oc­to­ber this year but his hopes of free­dom were shat­tered last month when High Court judge Jus­tice Te­boho Moiloa ruled that his sub­mis­sion that he suf­fers from in­fluenza had failed to demon­strate to the court that there were ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances that war­ranted his re­lease on bail as re­quired by law.

Other high rank­ing of­fi­cials who are also in cus­tody are po­lice of­fi­cers, Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Thabo Tšukulu, Se­nior In­spec­tor Mabi­tle Ma­tona, Sub In­spec­tor Ha­le­okoe Taa­soane and In­spec­tor Moth­ibeli Mo­folo. They also face charges in con­nec­tion with the mur­der of Po­lice Con­sta­ble Mokalekale Khetheng.

Mean­while, Com­mis­sioner Mothepu is­sued a stern warn­ing to face­less peo­ple in­clud­ing one Facebook ac­count holder, Li­ral­it­jamme, who was in the habit of post­ing on is­sues con­cern­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the cor­rec­tional ser­vices.

“No one is en­ti­tled to give any in­for­ma­tion per­tain­ing to the ad­min­is­tra­tion of this in­sti­tu­tion and we shall do ev­ery­thing to en­sure the safety of the inmates. Any­one who is found guilty shall face the con­se­quences.”

Com­mis­sioner Mothepu also dis­missed al­le­ga­tions that some of the cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers sa­lute some of the inmates who used to serve in the LDF or were prom­i­nent in the so­ci­ety.

“This is not true and there is no way any­one who is in cus­tody can be saluted be­cause the minute they are ad­mit­ted the veil of ven­er­a­tion falls off,” he said.

LCS Act­ing Com­mis­sioner Tha­bang Mothepu.

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