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Diesel thieves caught red-handed

’Mantoetse Maama

MASERU — Three men from Mohale’s Hoek were caught red-handed stealing diesel from a government truck. Mohale’s Hoek police said the men, aged between 18 and 41, had already filled two 25-litre containers with diesel when the police who were on patrol caught them in mid-January. The oldest of the three was the driver of the government truck with the registration number X3594, from which diesel was siphoned.

“It was reported that the 41-year-old man, acting in concert with two other men, pumped diesel from the truck,” police spokesperson Masupha Masupha said. Masupha said the men failed to give police a satisfactory explanation as to why they had siphoned diesel from the government truck and where they were taking it. He said they will appear in court once investigations are complete. Masupha said the police are worried with the escalating number of civil servants who are stealing government resources. He said the biggest culprits were drivers who are siphoning fuel from government vehicles.

Past reports by the auditor general have revealed that ministries have used huge amounts of money on fuel. In most cases, the reports showed, the purchase of that fuel was not supported by proper documents. Huge amounts have also been used to buy other consumables for state vehicles but there are no proper supporting documents to show that the purchases were legal or were ever made at all. There is also rampant abuse of state vehicles.

Meanwhile, a 45-year-old man is behind bars for allegedly raping an eight-year-old girl in Ha-Leqele, in the south-eastern outskirts of Maseru. The man appeared briefly before the magistrate’s court on January 25. Masupha said the man, who was working as a gardener in the same area, allegedly called the little girl as she was playing with other children and took her to a secluded place where he raped her.

The girl’s parents discovered the rape and immediately reported to the village chief who called the police and the man was arrested. In another case, a 22-year-old man died from injuries he sustained after shooting himself on January 23. The man, Masupha said, had also shot his wife who is being treated at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital. Masupha said the couple had an argument that led to a fight. The man was a security guard with a local security company.

“The two were rushed to a hospital but the man died the next day,” Masupha said. The firearm he used belongs to the security company he was working for. Masupha appealed to security guards, police and soldiers not to use their official guns to maim or kill members of their families. The guns, he said, should solely be used when performing their official duties.

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