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Driver sues police for M95 000

MASERU — A security company driver is suing the police for M95 000 after cops tortured him until he soiled his underpants. Joel Makhaba, 51, is demanding M50 000 for unlawful arrest and assault, M10 000 for pain and suffering and M15 000 for contumelia (humiliation).

Makhaba told High Court judge Justice Thamsanqa Nomncgongo on Friday that the police denied him access to water after he soiled himself. Makhaba said he sustained serious injuries that have left him unable to have sex.

He also told the court that he is now unemployable due to the injuries he suffered during the torture.

He said the police damaged his kidneys as they kicked him. The alleged assault happened on February 25, 2011 after he was arrested in connection with a December 2010 robbery at Total Gas in Ha-Mabote.

“As a result of the assault I can no longer work and perform sexually,” he said.

Makhaba was a driver at Coin Security Company. The company, based in South Africa, transports cash from its clients to the banks. Makhaba testified that on December 31, 2010 at around 8 am he went to fetch the company’s vehicle at Sekamaneng. He was collecting cash from Total Gas when four armed men stormed the office, hit a Total Gas employee only identified as ‘Mateboho with a gun butt on the head and ordered a customer to lie down.

After they robbed him of the money he phoned his boss in South Africa and reported to Mabote police.

The Mabote and Airport police came to the scene at different times, he told the court. ’Mateboho had already informed the Total Gas management of the robbery. On February 25 while he was collecting money from a client at Sefika Shopping Complex he was called by the Airport police.

There he found “between eight and nine policemen” including a female police constable whom he only identified as Mokobocho. One of the policemen called Mabote told him that they had long been looking for him. He said the police asked him where the money he shared with the robbers was and one of the policemen called Lefa said he should be handcuffed.

“They assaulted me with a knobkerrie on the kidneys and buttocks,” he claimed. All the people who were in the office assaulted him except policewoman Mokobocho, Makhaba alleged. He said he was assaulted till he falsely implicated himself and his neighbour. “I admitted because I was severely punished,” Makhaba said.

“They then assaulted me and stopped when I soiled myself,” he said. He said the police would not allow him to phone his boss, but ordered him to hand over the property of Coin Security to a Security Unlimited guard. He said he was not given an opportunity to clean himself after he soiled himself.

At the conclusion of his evidence Makhaba, who was being led by his lawyer Advocate ’Mole Kumalo, requested Justice Nomngcongo: “I beseech this honourable court to grant me damages contained in my prayers.”

Makhaba is a former member of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service. Mokobocho, led by prosecutor Mafefooane Moshoeshoe, told the court that Makhaba was detained after he was questioned about the robbery at Total Gas and gave the police unsatisfactory answers. “I told him that he had been called to be interviewed, after the interview we found that his story was not credible,” Mokobocho said.

She said the police had information that Makhaba approached people known to be robbers asking them to steal the money he was transporting.

Mokobocho said Makhaba was released on February 26, 2011 without being charged.

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