DCP Mokete’s sexual abuse trial postponed
DEPUTY Commissioner of Police (DCP) Paseka Mokete’s sexual assault trial has been postponed to 17 February 2022.
The trial, which got underway in October 2021, had been expected to proceed on Monday. But this was not to be due to the unavailability of the presiding magistrate, Peter Murenzi, who is said to be unwell.
It had then been moved to yesterday and DCP Mokete, who is currently out on free bail, showed up in court with his lawyer, Monaheng Rasekoai.
The complainant, Police Inspector ‘Makatleho Mphetho, was also in attendance in a virtually empty courtroom.
The trial was supposed to begin at 9am but an hour later, there was still no sign of Magistrate Murenzi and the prosecution team. At about 10.30 am, DCP Mokete and others who had come to observe proceedings began leaving the courtroom.
Asked why he was leaving, DCP Mokete told this publication they had been informed that the case had been postponed to 17 February because Magistrate Murenzi was still unwell.
DCP Mokete stands accused of sexually harassing his subordinate, Inspector Mphetho, on 30 April 2020. He is said to have abused her by touching her buttocks without her consent, breaking her trousers buttons and manhandling her. This allegedly happened when DCP Mokete had gone to serve her with his letter renouncing his membership of the Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA).
When the trial began in October 2021, Inspector Mphetho was put on the witness stand to testify against her boss and alleged victimiser.
She told the court that she was on duty at parliament building on 30 April 2020 when DCP Mokete arrived in the company of his two bodyguards and his chauffer to hand her his resignation letter from LEPOSA. Inspector Mphetho is the deputy secretary general of LEPOSA, the militant police union which has been at odds with DCP Mokete, Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli and the rest of the police command. LEPOSA accuses the police management of incompetence and cronyism. In turn, the police command accuses LEPOSA of insubordination.
She said after accepting DCP Mokete’s resignation letter, the top cop asked her to sign another document to acknowledge receipt which she refused to sign. She did not say why she refused to sign the document. She said DCP Mokete then disembarked from his vehicle and grabbed her buttocks and in the process, broke the buttons on her uniform trousers.
She said the incident had so traumatised her to the extent of urinating on herself. She said she took to her heels with DCP Mokete in hot pursuit. The police boss then caught up with her and grabbed her by the collar of her jersey, she alleged. She said DCP Mokete’s chauffer, one Inspector Komota, intervened and asked her to return the resignation letter which she did. DCP Mokete and his team then drove away, she said.
Development Planning Minister Selibe Mochoboroane and senior government chauffeur, Motloang Moima, witnessed the incident and would therefore testify in her support, Inspector Mphetho said.