MASERU — An office assistant in the Department of Land Survey and Property Planning is suing the Commissioner of Police for M55 000 for wrongful arrest.
In papers filed at the High Court on Tuesday, Mats’eliso Lepheana says she was unlawfully arrested and detained for two days by police officers from Maseru Central Police Station.
She says she was arrested on May 24 this year after about M29 000 was reported missing at her workplace and was only released on May 26.
“I was questioned at length about the M29 000 which was missing from my work place. The police went to search my house and confiscated some of my household items,” Lepheana says.
“When I asked why they were taking away my property they said I had bought the items with money that I had stolen from my work place.”
Lepheana is claiming M25 000 for unlawful arrest, M20 000 for the illegal search at her house and M10 000 for contumelia (humiliation).
The case is before Justice Thamsanqa Nomngconco.
Lepheana is represented by Advocate Tumisang Mosotho while the police commissioner is represented by Advocate Limpho Mokobocho.
However, Sergeant ‘Malebohang Toloane from Maseru Central Charge Office said Lepheana did not deserve to get the money she was claiming because there was a case against her.
Toloane says Lepheana was properly searched and therefore did not suffer any humiliation as she claims.
Toloane told the court that she had not applied for a search warrant because she believed there was a possibility that Lepheana would flee.
“We did not ransack her house and search without a warrant. This (searching without a warrant) was allowed according to a section in the Criminal Procedure and Evidence act,” Toloane said.
She said she had received information that there was a theft at the Department of Land Survey and launched investigations which led to Lepheana’s arrest.
“Upon searching plaintiff’s house I came upon a pay-slip which showed that she was only earning M85 as her salary and wondered how she was able to buy expensive furniture in the house,” Toloane said.
“She (Lepheana) was working as an office assistant and clearly living beyond her means.”
Toloane said the case against Lepheana was being handled by CID police who have opened a case of theft.
The case was postponed to February 6, 2012.