Missing cop’s case postponed again
THE High Court has again postponed to 19 August 2016 a case in which the father of missing Police Constable (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng seeks to compel his bosses to release him dead or alive.
The postponement was made on Friday after the respondents were unable to file their answering affidavit on time. This was after the police officers who were supposed to give their statements with regards to PC Khetheng’s whereabouts could not come to Maseru due to the snow in Mokhotlong.
During the last court appearance on 22 July 2016, the respondents’ lawyer, Advocate Letsie Moshoeshoe, told the court his clients could not produce PC Khetheng’s body because they were still to make consultations on what really happened to him.
Advocate Molise Molise, who was standing in for Attorney Tumisang Mosotho for PC Khetheng’s father Thabo Khetheng, said they are surprised by the respondents’ claim they were yet to consult on the whereabouts of PC Khetheng considering he had been missing for five months.
“This matter is extremely urgent, and should be treated as such,” said Advocate Molise.
PC Khetheng was stationed in Mokhotlong and allegedly last seen being arrested by his colleagues at a feast in Sebothoane, Leribe in March this year. This is according to papers filed on 18 July by Mr Khetheng.
Commissioner of Police Molahlehi Letsoepa, Officer Commanding Hlotse Police Station Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu, Minister of Police Monyane Moleleki, Minister of Defence Tšeliso Mokhosi, Commander Lesotho Defence Force Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli, Director-General National Security Service, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and Attorney-General Tšokolo Makhethe are cited as first to eighth respondents respectively in the matter.
The certificate of urgency alleges PC Khetheng was being “kept by the police (or) alternatively joint disciplined forces of Lesotho at a place unknown to the applicant”.
“Applicant has no alternative remedy in the face of a continuing illegal conspiracy to keep away his son, policeman Khetheng, at a place unknown by him and he fears for his life,” reads part of the certificate of urgency.
In his founding affidavit, Mr Khetheng says: “While my son was in Mokhotlong, the government house allocated to the Officer Commanding Mokhotlong police station got burned or it caught fire.
“In the aftermath, my son was suspected to have burned it. He was arrested and charged. He was ultimately released on bail.”
Mr Khetheng alleges he was told by PC Khetheng after his release that during his detention in Mokhotlong “the Commissioner of Police arrived in Mokhotlong police station and found my son locked in chains and lying on the ground”.
“He (PC Khetheng) informed me that the Commissioner of Police, who was accompanied by high ranking government officials and other members of the disciplined forces, remarked in his face that although the police had arrested him, they have not done work (sic),” alleges Mr Khetheng.
“Within a short period of time of hearing this information, my son was arrested while at a feast in Sebothoane in Leribe and has since disappeared for good.”
He claims PC Khetheng was arrested by three police officers “led by the fourth officer who stays in the same village as my son” and taken to Hlotse Police Station.
However, upon arriving at Hlotse Police Station to enquire on his son’s whereabouts, Mr Khetheng says he was told by a “very high ranking police officer” that in his recollection and the station’s records, PC Khetheng had not been detained at the station on 26 March 2016 “or any time thereafter”.
The constable’s father also claims he was informed by “other members of the disciplined forces” of an alleged “cover up” of PC Khetheng’s disappearance.
The case has been allocated to Justice ‘Maseshophe Hlajoane.