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Police boss testifies in fraud case

by Lesotho Times
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MASERU – Deputy Police commander Kizito Mhlakaza on Tuesday told the High Court that the suspended deputy police commissioner Motsotuoa Ntaote altered documents to fraudulently get per-diems.

Mhlakaza was testifying in court against Ntaote, 44, who is charged with fraud for allegedly misrepresenting to the treasury department that he and other police officers were entitled to the full per-diems during two official trips.

Mhlakaza told the court that Ntaote had told him that he altered the application papers to get full a per-diem.

The prosecution alleges that Ntaote and other police officers who travelled with him were only entitled to a quarter of the approved government’s per-diem rate.

“Ntaote told me that he altered the application form in order to get full per-diem. He said he used to make changes whenever a need arose,” Mhlakaza said.

Some of the fraud charges arise from a trip that Ntaote and other officers made to South Africa for the South African Regional Police Corporation Chiefs Organisation (SARPCCO) games in September 2005.

He is also alleged to have inflated the claims for a trip to South Africa to attend the Macro Surveillance meeting in December 2006.

The prosecution says the two trips which Ntaote undertook were fully funded making it illegal for him to claim a full per diem.

Government regulations state that officials who participate in fully sponsored trips are only entitled to a quarter of the per diem rate.

Superintendent Shekoe Sebutsoe, who accompanied Ntaote on an official trip to Pretoria, told the court that Ntaote told him along the way to Pretoria that they were not entitled to a full per-diem rate but he (Ntaote) had managed to arrange for it.

The defence lawyer Advocate Zwelakhe Mda accused Mhlakaza and other senior police officials of conspiring to get Ntaote arrested in order to block his ascendancy to the position of police commander.

“You were afraid that Ntaote would become the police commander and you conspired in order to kick him out of the police service,” Mda said.

Mda told the court that Mhlakaza and other senior police officers could have been jealous of Ntaote’s rise in the police service.

Ntaote joined the police service in 1992 and was appointed deputy police commissioner in 2005.

He was suspended in 2007 when his fraud case started.

The prosecution closed their case this week after the cross examination of Superintendent Sebutsoe.

Justice Gabriel Mofolo said it was now up to the defence to decide the next step because the state had closed its case.

The defence has two options. They can either apply for the discharge of the accused or call more witnesses.

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