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Scott has not been arrested: DPP

by Lesotho Times

By Billy Ntaote

MASERU-The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Advocate Leaba Thetsane KC this week said ritual murder suspect Lehlohonolo Scott has not been arrested and is still on the run.

Thetsane told the Lesotho Times he wanted to clear the air regarding the country’s most wanted fugitive who escaped from the Maseru Central Prison on 14 October 2012.  Scott had been arrested on 12 July alongside his mother, ‘Malehlohonolo, 54, for the alleged murder of Moholobela Seetsa and Kamohelo Mohata in January and June 2012, respectively.

‘Malehlohonolo Scott has since been released on bail, while former Justice and Correctional Services minister  Mophato Monyake announced late last year that the 27-year-old Scott had been arrested in South Africa—and that he would soon be brought back to Lesotho to face trial.

However, the police, as well as Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, later distanced themselves from Monyake’s pronouncement but Scott’s extradition has since been mentioned twice in the High Court.

But Thetsane this week said when the prosecution told the court on February 19 that Scott’s extradition papers had been filed, this did not mean he was now in police custody.

“What we have done is file provisional arrest papers after it was claimed that he was somewhere in South Africa. This was to make sure that when he is eventually found, the South African police can arrest him and his extradition would already be in motion because extradition is a very cumbersome and lengthy process,” he said.

Thetsane said he was surprised to hear Scott’s lawyer, Advocate Thulo Hoeane, say extradition does not take a long time.

“In one of the most high-profile cases we have handled—that of the people who attacked Makoanyane Barracks and the residence of the then  Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili, on 22 April 2009—the extradition took two full years. So how much longer would it take for someone who is still on the run?

“As we speak, Scott has not been arrested and we don’t know his exact whereabouts, save to say he is somewhere in South Africa.”

Thetsane continued: “When those attacks took place in the early hours of 22 April 2009, by 7am, the attackers had been arrested in Ladybrand, South Africa. Papers regarding their repatriation were filed the same day but the extradition processes only started in the South African courts in July 2010.

“Those attackers were only handed over to Lesotho in April 2011. This shows that an extradition cannot take four months as Hoeane claims.”

According to Thetsane, the extradition process takes long because it involves the ministries of justice and foreign affairs.

“This is why we were seeking 12 months postponement of the trial so that should he be arrested, we would be in the extradition process already.”

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