Mokhosi free at last

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Mohalenyane Phakela

OPPOSITION Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) deputy leader, Tšeliso Mokhosi, is finally a free man after the state withdrew murder charges against him.

The charges were withdrawn on Monday before Zimbabwean Judge Charles Hungwe.

Mr Mokhosi, who served as National Defence and Security minister in the Pakalitha Mosisili-led seven party coalition government from 2015 to 2017, was accused of murdering Police Constable (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng in 2016.

He has now been turned into a state witness against his co-accused, namely, Senior Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu, Superintendent Mothibeli Mofolo, Inspector Mabitle Matona and Police Constable Haleokoe Taasoane.

Former Commissioner of Police, Molahlehi Letsoepa, was also removed from the list of accused persons on the grounds that he could not be charged in absentia. He is in exile after he fled the country in 2017, claiming the then Thabane regime wanted to murder him.

Mr Mokhosi and the prosecutor Shaun Abrahams refused to say why the charges against the former minister were withdrawn and why he had been turned into a state witness.

Mr Mokhosi said the withdrawal of charges proved that he was innocent as he had maintained all along. He also said it was due to the “grace of God” that he did not die in police custody after he was allegedly tortured by the police after his arrest on 28 August 2017.

In September 2017, Mr Mokhosi made headlines when he sensationally accused the police of torturing him to a point where he soiled himself to get him to confess to the murder of PC Khetheng while he (Mr Mokhosi) was still a cabinet minister in 2016.

PC Khetheng, who was stationed in Mokhotlong, was last seen alive being arrested by his colleagues at a traditional feast in Sebothoane, Leribe on 25 March 2016.

He had been arrested and charged on allegations he torched the house of a superior officer in Mokhotlong district where he was deployed.

His remains were eventually exhumed at the Lepereng Cemetery, Maseru in August 2017. Mr Mokhosi handed himself over to the police after being summoned to assist with the investigations into PC Khetheng’s murder.

He was subsequently charged with murder alongside the police officers. At some point in September 2017, he even skipped the country claiming police wanted him dead after brutally torturing him while in custody.

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