Self-exiled Lesotho police constable speaks of his return

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By Rets’elisitsoe Khabo

A member of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service who fled the country fearing for his life says he will soon be returning upon completion of a few loose ends by his lawyers.

Initially in an interview, Police Constable Motlatsi Mofokeng told KDNews he would be reporting himself at the Police Headquarters on April 7 after a series of correspondence on his return between his lawyer—Advocate Makhetha Motsoari of Motsoari Chambers—and the office of the Commissioner of Police.

But Mofokeng has said his return has been postponed to a later date which shall soon be known upon completion of some loose ends being tight by his lawyers and the Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA).

Mofokeng, commenting on the series of correspondence between his lawyers and the office of the commissioner of police Holomo Molibeli said the initial warrant for his arrest was wrongly sought under the pretext that he is wanted for housebreaking offense that his lawyers have since proofed to be false.

“And now, they are trying to do things correctly and they are accusing me of inciting public violence and that I must report to the police headquarters to be fingerprinted.

“But the question is, I must be fingerprinted like who? Who should be fingerprinted and who should not be? Anyway, we will deal with that later,” Mofokeng said.

Mofokeng’s questioned were seemingly directed questioning the manner in which his case is being handled in comparison to that of Deputy Commissioner of Police Paseka Mokete who has been charged with sexually assaulting LEPOSA’s deputy secretary Inspector Makatleho Mpheto but has allegedly not been fingerprinted while the office of the commissioner of police argues he must be fingerprinted before appearing before court.

Mofokeng said he would soon be returning back to Lesotho and called on police officers assigned to search for his whereabouts to stop doing so saying it is a waste of public resources as he has fled the country and will inform the police when he would be returning back.

Following his fleeing the country, Mofokeng had his lawyers write to the office of the commissioner of police requesting he be provided with protection as he fears for his life.

Motsoari in a letter to Molibeli had said while police protection is being prepared for Mofokeng, he must also have his request for leave be granted while he is absent from his police duties.

However, a response from the office of the commissioner of police dated March 23 argued that there is a criminal investigation opened against Mofokeng that he is wanted in connection to.

The Letter informed Motsoari chambers that its client—Mofokeng—has contravened section 26, 27 and 31 of the internal security act of 1984 read together with sections 84 and 85 of the penal code act of 2010.

The letter stated that procedurally Mofokeng’s superior, being officer commanding special operations unit (SOU), was informed of the charges he is facing and was requested to call him to police headquarters so as to hand him over to the special investigation unit for purpose of being formally charged and accorded his constitutional right as a suspect of a crime and later be sent to court of law.

Molibeli’s office said Mofokeng refused to report himself to the said office but instead left his superiors in the office saying he is going to get his lawyers.

Motsoari chambers was informed that a warrant of arrest has been obtained against Mofokeng and he is now considered as a fugitive from justice.

Motsoari was also informed that as an officer of the court who is mandated to assist in the administration of Justice he is advised to present Mofokeng before Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SACP) Criminal Investigative Division Beleme Lebajoa so that he can be formally charged and taken to court of law for remand.

Motsoari chambers was also informed by Molibeli’s office that he must make it clear to Mofokeng that police officers were “detailed on patrol to arrest him and not to kill him as alleged”, and as such “he (Mofokeng) cannot be protected from law enforcement effecting a lawful arrest on somebody who is suspected on a reasonable ground to have committed a crime in the kingdom of Lesotho and performing other concomitant matters”.

Molibeli’s office said Mofokeng cannot even under protracted imagination circumvent the course of justice by applying for annual holiday leave as he is a suspect of the criminal charges.

The office of the commissioner further informed Motsoari that the application for leave for Mofokeng is denied.

Motsoari was also made aware that Mofokeng is already contravening regulation no. 23A 1 (k) of the Lesotho mounted police service (administration) (amendment) regulations published in legal notice No. 95 of 2004 by absenting himself from duty without leave.

Motsoari chambers was also told to inform Mofokeng his continued absence from work without leave have some serious consequences which he is fully aware of as a police officer.

In response, on March 30, Motsoari chambers said they have since discovered that the said record of criminal incident bears reference to one Konosoang Mohatsi who is a complainant in the reported crime of housebreaking with intent to steal and it was reported at MCCO on the first day of March 2021.

Motsoari outlined is has discovered that as alluded to earlier Mofokeng was never informed that he is facing any criminal charges while he was in a meeting with officer commanding SOU, hence it was easier for the said officer to disperse the meeting when he realised that it is not clear why superintendent Makatsela from CID had requested a meeting.

Motsoari added that in as much as they are now in a possession of a warrant of apprehension against Mofokeng, they have discovered that there is no complaint by anyone or even his superior per the quoted internal security act provision.

Motsoari also said that in every charge or contravention of statute criminally punishable there should be a complainant but in the charges against Mofokeng there seem to be no complainant.

Mofokeng’s lawyers further said they have thus discovered that there is no criminal case at Maseru central police station nor is there any superior who lodged a case against their client, so much that it is safe to say that there are no criminal charges that he is currently facing nor is he a suspect of any crime.

Motsoari also outlined that the statement above is driving them to a conclusion that the said warrant of apprehension was issued under fabricated allegations thereby making it a nullity.

“Our client stance has always been, he is prepared to face any charges that may be preferred against him only if such do really exist,” Motsoari told Molibeli’s office.

Motsoari also outlined that they are confident that if such charges do exist, then they can be informed as to when their client should present himself for the purpose of appearing before court and not for any other reason.

Motsoari also said requested that Molibeli quell Mofokeng’s fears that he is only being hunted for a plot to kill him by providing them with truthful contents on his charges.

In response in a letter penned by Staff Officer to Commissioner of Police TC Majoro said he is directed by Molibeli to respond that special investigations is investigating a criminal case against your Mofokeng per MCCO RCI 08/03/21 not as stated in the letter that was written on the March 23.

“The corresponding occurrence book number is 45/03/2021 which was opened on 2 day of march 2021. The typographical error is highly regretted.

“As regards complainant, and other concerns which are raised you are advised to refer to the above cited Lesotho mounted police service registers which will clearly indicate what has been reflected therein.

“This will apparently dispel your current doubts as regards the veracity or otherwise of the charges your client is facing.

“It must be reiterated that the continued absence of your client from his police duties without leave attracts very serious consequences on his part. As a police officer, your client knows it better,” said Majoro.

Majoro said MOtsoari is therefore advised again to hand over Mofokeng to the office of SACP Lebajoa or Senior Superintendent Matsoetla so as he may “be fingerprinted and taken to court of law for formal remand”.

Majoro said the Lesotho Mounted Police Service makes an unequivocal undertaking that Mofokeng will not be killed or tortured when he is brought before the police.

“He is merely required for purpose of taking him to court and any other concomitant matters.

“We will be most grateful if you can bring him not later than Tuesday April 6,” Majoro said.

However, Mofokeng has said his return which he had initially said was pencilled for April 7 has had to be postponed to a later date while his lawyers resolve a few loose ends but he would be reporting to the police headquarters soon.

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