THE four senior police officers accused of killing their subordinate over six years ago returned to court this week after a two-week-long breather, but their case could not continue because their lawyer did not show up.
Nov. 29, 2022
3 min read
Court to hear Khetheng murder trial in January
The first accused, Senior Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu
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High Court judge, Justice Tšeliso Mokoko who came in for his colleague, Justice Charles Hungwe (from Zimbabwe) consequently postponed the marathon trial to January 30, next year.
On Monday, November 14, the case was postponed for two weeks because the presiding judge, Justice Hungwe was not available.
The accused police officers include Senior Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu, Senior Inspector Mabitle Matona, Sub Inspector Haleokoe Taasoane, and Inspector Mothibeli Mofolo.
They are charged with the murder of Police Constable Mokalekale Khetheng on May 26, 2016.
Khetheng was arrested by his colleagues at a traditional feast in his home village of Sebothoane in Leribe on March 25, 2016.
He was accused of burning the house belonging to his commanding officer in Mokhotlong where he was deployed.
Tšukulu commanded the Leribe police and his three co-accused served under him.
The four were arrested on August 4, 2016, and hauled before the Maseru Magistrate’s Court four days later where they were remanded in custody.
They were later denied bail by the High Court.
All accused have denied any wrongdoing.
After his bizarre arrest, Khetheng mysteriously disappeared from the Hlotse police station but a police witness later told the court that he could have been abducted, implicating some police officers including the four accused and some soldiers.
Khetheng’s body was later exhumed at the Lepereng cemetery in Maseru on August 11, 2017.
Detective Lance Sergeant Bokang Jane who was stationed at Ha Mokhalinyane Police Station in 2016 where the murder allegedly occurred was in the witness box when proceedings were halted earlier this year.
He told the court that he attended the scene of the crime on March 27, 2016, in Ha Mokhalinyane on the outskirts of Maseru, where Khetheng’s body was found.
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At the time, Jane said he had no idea who the dead man was.
He testified that he attended the deceased’s post-mortem on June 3, 2016.
He only discovered the identity of the deceased later when investigations into the case were taken over by a team from the police headquarters, he claimed in court.
Former Police Commissioner Molahlehi Letsoepa who is still on the run was also charged with the murder.
Deputy leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Tšeliso Mokhosi, was also implicated in the murder.
After his subsequent arrest, Mokhosi who is also a former Cabinet Minister was allegedly assaulted by the police.
He was later discharged by the High Court.
Another senior police officer, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Tšeliso Moerane, was implicated in the murder but was later turned into a state witness.