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Police officers charged with LEC official’s murder

’Marafaele Mohloboli

FOUR police officers were arrested on Friday and charged with the 6 February 2017, murder of Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) head of the internal audit department, Thibello Nteso.

The quartet are police constables Moeketsi Dlamini (38) of Ha Mofoka and Monaheng ’Musi (30) of Ha Motsepa in Thaba-Tseka; Inspector Thaele Ramajoe (45) of Koabata in Berea and Superintendent Tlala Phatela (52) of Ha Phatela in Qacha’s Nek. They briefly appeared before the Maseru Magistrates’ Court on Friday to face charges of murder and malicious damage to property.

Magistrate Monyake Hlabanyane remanded the four accused in custody to 22 January 2018.

Mr Hlabanyane said they could only apply for bail at the High Court as the Magistrates’ Court has no powers to hear and grant bail applications where murder charges were concerned.

Police investigations revealed that Dlamini and ’Musi were on guard at the home of the then Police Commissioner, Molahlehi Letsoepa, in Maseru West when they allegedly shot and killed the 44-year-old Mr Nteso last year.

He was shot once in the hip area, and the same bullet also penetrated the other leg.

The constables claimed they had suspected a plot to attack the former police commissioner, after they noticed a firearm-holder in the late Mr Nteso’s car, which was parked near Mr Letsoepa’s residence.

At around 8pm, they saw the car leaving and fired some shots to stop Mr Nteso, who was driving away from the residence of the LEC corporate secretary, who lives near the former police commissioner’s residence.

The late Mr Nteso, it is alleged, was at the corporate secretary’s residence to work on a forensic audit report.

The other two suspects in the murder case, Inspector Ramajoe and Superintendent Phatela, allegedly ordered the cover-up of the murder by tampering with the crime scene.

Arrest of the suspects came a few days after the family of the late Mr Nteso had expressed disappointment at the slow pace of the investigation.

However, the police explained delays were caused by the unavailability of Mr Nteso’s post mortem report, which was only handed to the police last Monday to facilitate the arrest of the suspects.

Apart from police investigations, the Nteso family had last year engaged a private investigator and a private pathologist as they did not trust that investigations would be transparent.

The late Mr Nteso’s young brother, Tankiso Nteso last week said, findings by the private investigator had showed a possibility that his brother’s killing was linked to his work.

The late Mr Nteso had presented to his company, preliminary findings of a forensic audit, which showed that more than M170 million was embezzled from LEC.

This resulted in the suspension of the LEC managing director and chief finance officer.

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