LAW, Constitutional Affairs and Human Rights Minister Lebohang Hlaele says government is not happy that former Defence minister, Tšeliso Mokhosi, who is facing murder charges, was freed on bail.
Mr Mokhosi, who is also Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) deputy leader, is jointly charged with four Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) officers who first appeared before the Magistrate’s Court on 8 August 2017 and have since been remanded in custody.
The four cops are Senior Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu, (51) of ’Malere Matelile Ha Qaba in the Mafeteng district, Senior Inspector Mabitle Matona (39) of Butha-Buthe, Ha Nqabeni, Sub Inspector Haleokoe Taasoane (44) of Liphofung Mokhotlong and Inspector Mothibeli Mofolo (49).
They face charge of murdering Police Constable (PC), Mokalekale Khetheng.
PC Khetheng was last seen alive on 25 March, 2016 when he was being arrested by his colleagues at a traditional feast in Sebothoane, Leribe.
His body was exhumed in August this year from the Lepereng Cemetery where it had been buried along with other unidentified corpses.
Mr Mokhosi, who was first remanded in custody, was later released on bail by High Court Judge, Justice Thamsanqa Nomngcongo.
The office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Advocate Leaba Thetsane KC, did not oppose the bail application- a move that angered government.
Advocate Thetsane, whose official retirement date was supposed to be July 28, 2018, has since taken leave pending early retirement after negotiations with government.
Addressing the media in Maseru on Tuesday, Mr Hlaele said he ordered Advocate Thetsane to take a 30-day leave after realising that the latter was tired and needed to rest.
He shot down speculation that the decision had been informed by the government’s displeasure with Mr Mokhosi’s bail issue.
“Yes government was not happy and it is still unhappy that Ntate Mokhosi was given bail under such circumstances, without the DPP opposing it. But that has nothing to do with sending Ntate Thetsane on leave,” Mr Hlaele said, adding government had decided before then to send him on a 30-day annual leave.
He said Advocate Thetsane opposed this and suggested that he be allowed to take his 30-day annual leave together with the remaining months before his retirement in July 2018.
He said negotiations over the issue lasted three weeks and that Advocate Thetsane’s leave only became effective on 5 October.
Mr Hlaele said government had no intention of interfering with the operations of the office of the DPP but was keen on ensuring that the office served the interests of Basotho, not those of politicians.
Mr Mokhosi could not be reached for comment on his mobile phone.