THE Chief Executive Officer of the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC), Mohato Seleke, on Friday relieved his alleged February 2017 kidnapping ordeal in the Maseru Magistrates’ Court.
Mr Seleke and his friend Lira Moeti were allegedly abducted by five members of the security agencies from their homes in Naleli, in the Berea district on suspicions that they were behind the shadowy Facebook character called Makhaola Qalo who posts sensitive information about government operations.
The five members of the security agencies are Rethabile Sehloho (43) of Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS), Tebello Tau (37) and 41-year-old Letholetseng Lekhoaba (both from the Lesotho Defence Force- LDF), Mpoka Mapetla (36) and 48-year-old Sehloho Thebele (both from the National Security Services- NSS).
According to the charge sheet, on 25 February 2017 the five “did unlawfully and intentionally by force, threats, deception and/or unlawful means deprive one Mohato Seleke and Lira Moeti of their freedom of movement to wit; by forcefully removing them from their respective homes in Naleli, Maseru, to an unknown dwelling at Ha Ramabanta in rural Maseru”.
“The accused… did unlawfully and intentionally assault one Mohato Seleke and Lira Moeti…hitting the said Mohato and Lira with AK47 rifles on their bodies with the intention of causing serious bodily harm.
“The accused…did unlawfully and intentionally damage property which was in lawful control and possession of Mohato Seleke and Lira Moeti, by cutting padlocks at the gate with a bolt cutter and by also breaking the windows,” the charge sheet further states.
Testifying before Magistrate Monyake Hlabanyane, Mr Seleke narrated how he was awakened by his wife in the early hours of 25 February 2017 in response to the noise and threats of people who were threatening to forcibly enter if he did not come out.
He said he was first frog-marched to Mr Moeti’s residence before both were bundled into a van and taken to Ramabanta Police Station in Maseru where they were quizzed over the Makhaola Qalo Facebook page.
Mr Seleke who now lives in Maseru West, said his ordeal began between 3.30 am and 4.00 am as he lay in bed resting on 25 February 2017.
“I was awakened by my wife who said there were people who looking for me and there was noise outside,” Mr Seleke told the court. He said the men had identified themselves to his wife as policemen “sounded very wild and threatened to enter the house if I don’t’ come out”.
He said upon going outside to meet the men, he recognised Tebello Tau who jabbed the butt of his gun to his (Mr Seleke’s) back and pushed him in the direction of a van the suspects had parked in his yard.
“As we were near the van, the people who were with Tebello Tau asked me to show them where Lira Moeti stays,” Mr Seleke said, adding that upon arrival at Mr Moeti’s house one of the suspects entered and emerged dragging him Mr Moeti.
“Upon arrival at Ramabanta Police Station, we were put in a cell. I was called for interrogation and asked about Makhaola Qalo who they said I must know because I am the administrator of that Facebook page. They said the was insulting police officers.”
He said after him, Mr Moeti was also interrogated and thereafter they were transported to Maseru urban.
“They dropped me at Lakeside area where I boarded a taxi home,” Mr Seleke said.
Mr Hlabanyane postponed the case to 8 March 2019.