Molibeli under pressure

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…as family of murdered businesswoman fights for justice

Staff reporters

A distraught and grief-stricken family has given Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli an ultimatum to explain his lack of action in one of Lesotho’s gruesome cases of gender violence and child abuse or face court action.

The Radiile family issued the ultimatum nearly five years after its mother, businesswoman ‘Mathabang Radiile, was brutally murdered by his live-in partner – one Lebohang Nkuebe. Ms Radiile’s then four-month-old granddaughter, Realeboa, was nearly burnt to death by the same Nkuebe on the same morning of the murder in November 2017.

The police never acted to bring Nkuebe to book despite that he had confessed to the gruesome murder and explained his actions in full to the police officers who initially probed the case. He had gone as far as handing over the murder weapon.

While Nkuebe was in police custody and while the Radiile family waited for police to complete their probe and take him to court, the suspected murderer was mysteriously released from prison.

Nkuebe even started making social media posts in which he implied nothing would happen to him despite the horrendous crime he had committed.

It later emerged that one Kubutu Kubutu, a police officer at Mabote Police Station, in whose hands the murder docket was last posited, had rushed to facilitate bail for Nkuebe, without even the courtesy of informing the Radiile family. He had then gotten the suspected murderer released from custody.  The then prosecutor handling the case, Advocate Tsietsi Hlaele, said then he was helpless to have fought the bail decision as the police were hell bent on achieving it.

The case then ended there and it’s not known what Kubutu did with the docket which he seems to have disappeared.

Efforts to contact him afterwards failed as he stopped answering his phone.

In the meantime, the Radiile family was now busy attending to the medical needs of then four-month-old Realeboa, who had been badly burnt all over her body and needed special reconstructive surgeries despite her tender age.  About four years later, the baby is still suffering from her wounds and her life stands permanently destroyed.  Nkuebe is moving on with his life uninterrupted.

Commissioner Molibeli had been contacted on several occasions to intervene in this matter and investigate why his officer, Kubutu, and others had apparently sabotaged the matter. Compol Molibeli too did nothing despite the direct appeals to his office.

In fact, it was later established that instead of the police completing their probe and pushing for prosecution, Kubutu was more concerned with assisting Nkuebe gain access to Ms Radiile’s house and retrieve his clothes.

Despite this story being repeatedly published, no action has ever been forthcoming from the police. It is one of those that best illustrates the incompetence of the Lesotho police force and how it is has become rotten at the very core on account of the behaviour of some of its officers like Kubutu.  This in turn has enabled rampant criminality with violent crime taking hold in the country and catapulting the Kingdom to its now dubious honour of being the sixth in the world in terms of homicides, as per the report by the World Population Review.   It also illustrates the heartlessness of some of those tasked with policing duties.

The Radiile family – whose time and energy had been devoted to saving infant Realeboa’s life – now wants Commissioner Molibeli to explain why, nearly five years later, the prime suspect in the matter, Nkuebe, has been protected by his officers and why he did nothing after several appeals to him.

Commissioner Molibeli has 10 days from the 25th of April 2022 to state his position failing which he will be taken to court for an order confirming that he is in deliberate dereliction of his constitutional obligations to probe crime and by implication he is unfit to be a police commissioner. His continued stay in that office thus constitutes a grave danger to the state of Lesotho.  Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, who has remained aloof as crime has taken hold in the country, with no attempts to overhaul the police, will also face a lawsuit to compel him to act.

Families – who have lost their loved ones and have had suspects protected by corrupt police officers who disappear dockets –  are likely to be invited to join a possible class action against Compol Molibeli.

“Crime has gone out of hand…With a government that does not seem to care, it’s now up to citizens  to fight,” said a Radiile family spokesman.

“One needs to be completely devilish and heartless not to be moved by the story of little Realeboa and his murdered grandmom….For such a tiny baby to have been put through such an ordeal is simply satanic….to have police officers who simply don’t care, do nothing or protect the perpetrator is heart-breaking.”

The tragic story happened on the morning of 14 November 2017 when Ms Radiile was at home with her four-month-old infant, Realeboa, whose mother had gone to work. Nkuebe, was at home with Ms Radiile for whom he worked as a driver, aside from their intimate relationship.

An argument is believed to have ensued over money that Nkuebe wanted and he took a knife and stabbed Ms Radiile on the chest and neck over 10 times killing her instantly and leaving her in a pool of blood.  In an attempt to create a fake robbery scene, Nkuebe, later explained to the police that he had extracted a fluid from a battery from one of Ms Radiile’s cars and splashed it  all over little Realeboa’s body, causing her severe permanent injuries.  He had also stuffed a cloth and tissues in little Realeboa’s mouth so her cries could not be heard. He had then left the house and returned later to create an impression that he had not been around when Ms Radiile and her granddaughter were “ambushed”.  On his return home after several hours, he had called Ms Radiile’s daughter , who returned  from work to see her mother in a sea of blood.

Nkuebe was detained by the police after their initial investigations proved his story did not add up. He then recanted his earlier version and explained how he had committed the crime. He even produced the murder weapon.

The Radiiles were then left with the assumption that all the necessary legal precautions to record the confession and have it submitted in court were being taken. Only to be  stunned when suddenly, they saw Nkuebe making posts on social media. It was then established that Kubutu Kubutu had facilitated bail for Nkuebe and ensured his release.

Asked to explain how this had happened, Kubutu told the Lesotho Times, there had been no valid reasons to oppose bail. This despite the gravity of Nkuebe’s crimes.

The matter then died in Kubutu’s hands. Subsequent efforts to follow up with Kubutu failed. Direct appeals to Commissioner Molibeli also went unheeded, leaving the Radiile family with no option but to now resort to threatening legal action to force Compol Molibeli’s hand.

“In a nutshell, this is the story of the LMPS under your command, Commissioner Molibeli. A woman gets killed by a boyfriend over a wrangle over money, the woman’s infant granddaughter is burnt to near ashes. The murderer confesses to his crimes to the police.  Instead of being  taken to court to finality, your officer Kubutu, intervenes and corruptly facilitates bail for him. His docket is disappeared, forcing the distraught family to flee into exile because they don’t know what the murderer will plot next…,” reads the letter to Compol Molibeli.

The letter demands that the police commissioner explain his indifferent and cavalier attitude in light of all the appeals to him to have his officers do their work. It also demands disciplinary measures against Kubutu and his dismissal from the LMPS to serve as an example to equally corrupt and wicked police officers who aid and abet criminal suspects.

Despite that many stories have been carried over the crime – in addition to the direct appeals to Commissioner Molibeli – the police boss appears not to have been moved at all.

So graphic are the pictures of the crime and the injuries to baby Realeboa that the Lesotho Times cannot publish many of them.

The demand letter to Compol Molibeli is copied to   Prime Minister Majoro, Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu, Police and Public Safety Minister Lepota Sekola, Police and Public Safety Principal Secretary Tanki Mothae, Director of Public Prosecutions Hlalefang Motinyane, Officer in Charge of Maseru District R. Motsoetla and Kubutu himself.

“We are going to fight for justice to the last ounces of blood in our collective veins….We are aware of the dangers to people who speak out against these grave injustices…. …We are prepared for everything….Evil prevails when we all sit and do nothing,”  said the family spokesman.

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