Missing cop case: Tšukulu accused of lying

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Tefo Tefo

A POLICE Constable (PC) testifying in a High Court habeas corpus case has accused Officer Commanding Hlotse Police Station Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu of giving a false version of events on the disappearance of PC Mokalekale Khetheng.

In her testimony on Monday, PC ‘Mabohlokoa Makotoko said Supt Tšukulu gave a different account to what really happened to PC Khetheng before he became missing.

She was testifying in a case in which the missing cop’s father, Thabo Khetheng, seeks a High Court order compelling the police to produce his son dead or alive.

PC Makotoko said she was surprised to hear her boss telling officers in the Police Legal Division and lawyers at the Law Office he was conversant with PC Khetheng’s matter.

PC Makotoko had earlier told the court she was among the police officers who arrested PC Khetheng in Sebothoane, Leribe on 26 March this year and left him outside the Hlotse Police Station yard at the instruction of one Inspector Mofolo.

She said in June this year, Inspector Mofolo phoned her saying Supt Tšukulu wanted to meet her in his office.

“I had just knocked off from work on 22 June 2016 when I received a telephone call from Inspector Mofolo telling me that the Dispol (District Police Commander) wanted to see me,” said PC Makotoko.

“I went straight to Supt Tšukulu’s office who told me to wait in Inspector Mofolo’s office because he had called me together with PC Ntoane and he had not yet arrived.”

PC Ntoane was also among the police officers who arrested PC Khetheng.

PC Makotoko said she, PC Ntoane and Inspector Mofolo later went to Superintendent Tšukulu’s office.

“Upon arrival, Supt Tšukulu gave us a copy of ‘a notice of motion’ (application) in relation to PC Khetheng and he told us we should report at the Law Office the following day to respond to the filed case,” she said.

“It was at that point that Inspector Mofolo told us there was nothing much to answer for at the Law Office and we should only say we left PC Khetheng at Haelale (Hlotse Police Station waiting room).”

PC Makotoko told the court on arrival at the Police Legal Division in Maseru, they were asked who could shed more light on PC Khetheng’s matter because they had to go to the Law Office to respond to the habeas corpus case which had already been filed in court.

“I was surprised to hear Supt Tšukulu saying he knew everything,” she said.

“When he was told to narrate the story, he told a different story to what had transpired including giving wrong dates. However, I cannot even recall what he said because it was not what really happened.”

She said they proceeded to the Law Office where Supt Tšukulu narrated the same story seconded by PC Ntoane.

“When I was asked if I could add anything, I said I could not add anything because I knew nothing about what was said by Supt Tšukulu,” PC Makotoko said.

The oral evidence was called after there were conflicting versions of events on the affidavits by Mr Khetheng and the police.

According to Mr Khetheng’s court application filed on 18 July 2016, PC Khetheng was last seen when he was arrested by his colleagues in Sebothoane, Leribe on 26 March this year. According to Mr Khetheng, he was arrested on suspicion of arson after the “government house allocated to the Officer Commanding Mokhotlong police station got burned or it caught fire”.

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.

In the court papers, 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”.

The case will proceed tomorrow before High Court judge Justice ‘Maseshophe Hlajoane.

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