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Suspended LTDC boss charged with attempted murder

by Lesotho Times
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Mohalenyane Phakela

SUSPENDED Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) chief executive officer, Retṥelisitsoe Nko, is expected to reappear before the Maseru Magistrates’ Court on 7 February 2023 to answer two charges of attempted murder.

He also faces two other counts, one of malicious damage to property and another of disturbing the peace.

Dr Nko was remanded out of custody on 10 January 2023 due to his ill health and ordered to reappear before the same court on 7 February 2023

He made a brief appearance in Senior Resident Magistrate Thamae Thamae’s chambers last week. He had arrived in court being pushed in a wheelchair by his family members.

Dr Nko first appeared in the Maseru Magistrates’ Court on 6 January 2023 before Magistrate ‘Mamorojele Qoo who read the charges to him.

He is accused of unlawfully and intentionally shooting one Thulo Mothepu on the leg on 27 December 2022 in Hillsview, Maseru. The victim is said to have suffered serious injuries.

Dr Nko is also accused of the attempted murder of one Sethole Mothepu after he shot at him.

He is further accused of shooting at the walls of a house belonging to one Moliko Mothepu.

He faces a charge of breaching the peace over his alleged spinning of a bike in a manner   which allegedly disturbed the peace of a group pf people who had been enjoying themselves.

Dr Nko’s lawyer, Advocate Haae Phoofolo, had on 6 January pleaded with the court not to remand him in custody because he was injured from the 27 December 2022 incident and therefore needed to see a doctor.

“The accused is not in a position to understand the proceedings. He has sceptic injuries which need to be treated in two days’ time. May the accused be given time to enable him to receive medical attention. We pray the court to use its discretion and not remand him in custody whilst his injuries are attended to,” Adv Phoofolo had argued.

However, crown prosecutor, Adv Keketso Motiki, had counter-argued that Dr Nko was facing serious charges and therefore could not be released on free bail.

Adv Motiki argued that the Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) had expertise to take care of ill inmates like Dr Nko and therefore he should be remanded into their custody.

“It would be wrong for the court to release the accused because he is facing serious offences. There is nothing exceptional about his case. The correctional institution is equipped with personnel and equipment to take care of him,” Adv Motiki argued.

Nonetheless, Magistrate Qoo released Dr Nko after Adv Phoofolo vowed to be his surety.

During his rather bizarre appearance on 6 January 2023, Dr Nko was whisked to court in a stretcher.

He was back in court on January 10, this time in a wheelchair.  His family had tried to hide him away from media cameras by covering Dr Nko with umbrellas as he was ferried from the parking lot to Magistrate Thamae’s chambers. However, their plot failed as one camera on the court’s balcony, perfectly captured Dr Nko being ferried in the wheelchair.

The media had waited patiently for the court proceedings to commence at 9am. To their utter dismay, the proceedings were conducted in Magistrate Thamae’s chambers around 10.30am.

The media’s plea to listen to the proceedings was rejected by Magistrate Thamae who said his office was small to accommodate the media. Dr Nko’s family members were nonetheless allowed in. In fact, the door was shut and the media were shunted to the reception area by one police officer.

But the media still managed to snatch a glimpse of proceedings via a mobile phone of one of the parties in the magistrate’s chambers.

Adv Phoofolo told Magistrate Thamae that he had brought Dr Nko for the court’s assessment as per his previous appearance.

“Your Lordship, the accused is now before you for general assessment,” Adv Phoofolo said.

Magistrate Thamae then asked the accused if he was feeling any pain and on which part of his body?   There was no audible answer from Dr Nko.

Magistrate Thamae then ordered that Dr Nko be given a chance to get further medical attention and return to court on 7 February 2023. Adv Phoofolo has been adamant that his client is not fit enough to be present at court.


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