Lesotho police have this week warned that people who seek to buy cigarettes in large quantities are frequently falling prey to deceptive sellers especially in Maputsoe, Leribe and in the capital Maseru. The police have therefore appealed to business community to be more vigilant.
Police reports show that other victims have lost monies amounting up to M50 000 while others opted to not report to the police after they were robbed in various set-up traps.
“Just this week, three police constables appeared before the Berea Magistrate Court on July 27 accused of aggravated theft whereby they allegedly robbed a civilian M24 000 in Berea on July 18. A buyer Tšepo Raliqa, 21, was attempting to purchase boxes of cigarettes from a house in Ha Ratšiu when the accused police officers raided the house, attacked and slapped the sellers and took by force the money instead of arresting those found effecting an illicit trade of tobacco,” explained police spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli.
The trio suspects - Police Constables Thabo Seobi, 39, Poulo Cheli, 39, and Rankali Rankali, 36, (in whose possession the stolen money was found), were remanded to reappear before the same court on August 11 after being released on a M500 bail each.