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Family goes to court over missing cop

by Lesotho Times

 

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Constable Mokalekale Khetheng

’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE father of missing Police Constable (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng has filed an urgent High Court application to compel his bosses to release him dead or alive.

PC Khetheng was stationed in Mokhotlong and allegedly last seen being arrested by his colleagues at a feast in Sebothoane, Leribe in March this year. This is according to papers filed on Monday by his father – Thabo Khetheng through Advocate Alphonce Molati.

Mr Khetheng initially lodged the application three weeks ago, but withdrew it after changing his lawyer.

“I submit that at the time (of the initial application) I did not have facts and evidence presently within my purview and my witnesses,” he says.

The Commissioner of Police, Officer Commanding Hlotse Police Station, Minister of Police, Minister of Defence, Commander Lesotho Defence Force, Director-General National Security Service, Prime Minister and Attorney-General are cited as first to eighth respondents respectively in the matter.

The certificate of urgency alleges PC Khetheng was being “kept by the police (or) alternatively joint disciplined forces of Lesotho at a place unknown to the applicant”.

“Applicant has no alternative remedy in the face of a continuing illegal conspiracy to keep away his son, policeman Khetheng, at a place unknown by him and he fears for his life,” reads part of the certificate of urgency.

In his notice of motion before the court, Mr Khetheng states an application will be made on Friday in which he wants the court to direct the respondents to show cause why they cannot be ordered to produce PC Khetheng “dead or alive forthwith to this honourable court”.

The father wants PC Khetheng’s continued detention by the respondents “alternatively the first and second respondents be declared null and void”.

In the event PC Khetheng is produced to the court dead, Mr Khetheng wants the Prime Minister to convene a commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death “and to make appropriate recommendations”.

In his founding affidavit, Mr Khetheng says: “While my son was in Mokhotlong, the government house allocated to the Officer Commanding Mokhotlong police station got burned or it caught fire.

“In the aftermath, my son was suspected to have burned it. He was arrested and charged. He was ultimately released on bail.”

Mr Khetheng alleges he was told by PC Khetheng after his release that during his detention in Mokhotlong “the Commissioner of Police arrived in Mokhotlong police station and found my son locked in chains and lying on the ground”.

“He (PC Khetheng) informed me that the Commissioner of Police, who was accompanied by high ranking government officials and other members of the disciplined forces, remarked in his face that although the police had arrested him, they have not done work (sic),” alleges Mr Khetheng.

“Within a short period of time of hearing this information, my son was arrested while at a feast in Sebothoane in Leribe and has since disappeared for good.”

He claims PC Khetheng was arrested by three police officers “led by the fourth officer who stays in the same village as my son” and taken to Hlotse Police Station.

However, upon arriving at Hlotse Police Station to enquire on his son’s whereabouts, Mr Khetheng says he was told by a “very high ranking police officer” that in his recollection and the station’s records, PC Khetheng had not been detained at the station on 26 March 2016 “or any time thereafter”.

He says further enquiries with a “Inspector Mofolo” from the Criminal Investigations Department did not yield any fruits.

“He (Inspector Mofolo) tried to play cool and relaxed although he was very poor at it. He said my son was not arrested but he was called to Hlotse Police Station to be asked questions in relation to acts of arson that occurred in Butha-Buthe and thereafter my son left Hlotse Police Station,” Mr Khetheng states.

The constable’s father also claims he was informed by “other members of the disciplined forces” of an alleged “cover up” of PC Khetheng’s disappearance.

“I am not able to secure affidavits of these people now because they state that they fear to be ostracised by colleagues and fear for their lives, but they are willing to testify before court about their knowledge of this matter so that if anything happens to them, it shall be after they have testified before court.”

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