Police deny knowledge  of ‘missing’ officer

Police deny knowledge of ‘missing’ officer

Leisa Leisanyane

MASERU – THE police have denied any knowledge about the “arrest” of a junior officer who disappeared at a police station earlier this year.
The denial comes five months after the police told Parliament that Mokalekale Khetheng had disappeared at a police station in Hlotse.
A police witness told Justice ’Maseshophe Hlajoane in the High Court on Monday that he was not aware that Khetheng is missing and that he was wanted by the police.
The witness, Senior Inspector Matona, told the judge he has never heard about Khetheng’s “disappearance”.
He added he was also not aware of his arrest.

A police officer who testified on behalf of the Khetheng family had alleged Matona was one of the senior officers who had been given instructions regarding the arrest of Khetheng.
But Matona denied playing any role in the arrest of Khetheng. He said he only learned that he was missing when he was served with a subpoena to show face in court.
Counsel for Khetheng’s family, Advocate Letuka Molati, asked Matona whether or not he was promoted to a higher rank because of his involvement in Khetheng’s arrest.
He denied the charge and claimed that he was promoted because he is generally a hard worker.

In July this year, the police told Parliament that Khetheng was brought to the Hlotse Police Station but disappeared at the reception.
The response was presented by Labour Minister Thulo Mahlakeng because the then Police Minister Monyane Moleleki was out of the country on government business.
Mahlakeng told Parliament that according to the information he had, Khetheng had deserted.

He said Khetheng was waiting to see the district police boss at the police station’s reception desk when he suddenly left without saying anything.
Mahlakeng was responding to a question by the All Basotho Convention’s Mokhotlong MP, Tefo Mapesela, who wanted to know if the minister was aware that Khetheng had been arrested and kept in custody at Hlotse Police Station where he disappeared.
Mapesela further asked if the minister was aware that Khetheng’s relatives did not know where he was and how soon the minister would intervene.
Mahlakeng denied that Khetheng was arrested and said he was instead summoned by the Leribe police commander to explain why he had deserted his post in Mokhotlong since March 11, 2016.

“He indeed reported himself in Hlotse on March 26 to meet the commander. He arrived just before lunch. He left the reception room and went outside. He never came back,” Mahlakeng said.

But Mapesela was not happy with Mahlakeng’s explanation. The MP told Parliament that Khetheng disappeared while he was at the police premises after he was arrested by the police who were travelling in a Toyota Quantum from his home in Sebothoane in Leribe.
“The minister must investigate this because Khetheng was fetched by the police from his home,” Mapesela said.
“We want an answer as to what the police have done until now about the disappearance of that police constable.”
Khetheng’s father, Thabo Khetheng, has filed a habeas corpus application in the High Court asking it to order the police to produce the body of his son and to release it to his family.
The case was postponed to December 5 and 6.

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