FORMER Police Commissioner Molahlehi Letsoepa has been added to a list of suspects who will stand trial for the murder of police constable Mokalekale Khetheng.
The others are former Defence Minister and Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) deputy leader Tšeliso Mokhosi and several police officers.
Mr Letsoepa – who was appointed by the Pakalitha Mosisili-led former seven parties coalition government in November 2015 – was sent on an involuntary 90-day leave pending retirement by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and he skipped the country shortly afterwards.
Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister, Lesego Makgothi, revealed in September 2017 that the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) had requested him to return home from South Africa but to no avail as they wanted to question him in connection with the murder of PC Khetheng.
And on Monday, Mr Letsoepa’s name was called out by High Court judge, Justice ‘Maseshophe Hlajoane, along with that of Mr Mokhosi and police officers who include former Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Tšeliso Moerane.
The other accused persons are Senior Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu, Superintendent Mothibeli Mofolo, Inspector Mabitle Matona and Constable Haleokoe Taasoane who are all currently on suspension from the police force. The four police officers were present in court having been brought in from the Maseru Maximum Security Prison where they are detained on remand since last year.
Mr Letsoepa, Mr Mokhosi and Mr Moerane were not present when their names were called. While Mr Letsoepa fled the country, it was however, not disclosed why Mr Mokhosi (who is currently out on bail) and Mr Moerane were not present. Mr Mokhosi fled to South Africa after he was initially arrested and detained over Constable Khetheng’s murder last year claiming that he had been tortured and his life was in danger.
Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli said last night that Mr Mokhosi had nonetheless been reporting himself to the police every last Friday of the month as per his bail conditions.
Justice Hlajoane however, ordered all the accused persons, including those that were not present, to appear again before the High Court on 16 April 2018 for the court to set a trial date.
The suspects are charged with murdering Constable Khetheng in March 2016.
PC Khetheng was stationed in Mokhotlong and he was last seen being arrested by his colleagues at a traditional feast in Sebothoane in Leribe on 26 March 2016.
PC Khetheng had been arrested and charged on allegations that he torched the house of his superior in Mokhotlong district where he was deployed.
He was allegedly last seen with Inspector Mofolo, PC Ntoane, PC ‘Mabohlokoa Makotoko and Senior Inspector Matona.
At the time, the LMPS argued that PC Khetheng left the Hlotse police station without permission and they did not know where he was. For its part, the Khetheng family argued that the police knew or ought to know where he was because they arrested him.
His father, Thabo Khetheng, lodged an application before the High Court on 18 July 2016 for the police authorities to produce him dead or alive.
PC Khetheng’s body was subsequently exhumed at Lepereng Cemetery in the Maseru district on 11 August 2017 after the police were granted a court order by the Magistrate’s Court in light of the investigations into his disappearance and suspected murder.
His remains were reburied that same month in his home district of Mokhotlong.