THE four senior police officers who are charged with the murder of their subordinate, Police Constable (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng have been given yet another breather as the trial has been rescheduled to February 6.
Feb. 1, 2023
3 min read
Khetheng alleged killers get another reprieve
Former Police Commissioner Molahlehi Letsoepa
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The matter, which was initially postponed in November 2022, could not resume on Monday this week owing to the rehearsals for the official reopening of the High Court on Wednesday.
The case could also not proceed in November as scheduled because, at that time, the defence lawyer had another matter before Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane.
Prior to that, the trial had been rescheduled as the presiding judge was unavailable.
Senior Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu is charged along with his three subordinates, Senior Inspector Mabitle Matona, Sub Inspector Haleokoe Taasoane, and Inspector Mothibeli Mofolo for the murder of PC Khetheng on March 26, 2016.
Khetheng was last seen alive at the time of his arrest by his colleagues at a traditional feast in his home village of Sebothoane, Leribe the day before.
He was accused of burning to the ground the house belonging to his commanding officer in Mokhotlong where he was deployed.
It is alleged that Tšukulu ordered the Leribe police and his three co-accused to arrest Khetheng.
Matona, Taasoane, and Mofolo served under Tšukulu during the material time.
After their arrest on August 4, 2016, the four were hauled before the Maseru Magistrate’s Court, where they were remanded in custody.
They were later denied bail by the High Court.
In their defence, the accused deny any wrongdoing.
Following his strange apprehension, Khetheng disappeared from the Hlotse Police station, but a police witness later told the High Court that he could have been abducted, implicating some police officers, including the four accused and some members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).
Khetheng’s body was later exhumed at the Lepereng Cemetery in Maseru on August 11, 2017.
This, was after the police, were granted a court order by the Maseru Magistrate Court following investigations into his disappearance and suspected murder.
When evidence was last led in court late last year, 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.
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He testified 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.
At the time, Jane said he had no idea who the dead man was.
He attended the deceased’s post-mortem on June 3, 2016, the court also heard.
He claimed that he only discovered the identity of the deceased later when investigations into the case were taken over by a team from the police headquarters.
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.