Brutal assault at State House

Brutal assault at State House

…..Thabane, wife paid man M5k to shut up…..

MASERU-FORMER Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his wife ‘Maesaiah paid M5 000 to silence a young man who had been brutally assaulted at the State House.

The assault happened in January 2018.
The allegation is contained in a confidential police report that also exposes how senior police officers went to great lengths to cover up the assault case to protect Thabane and his wife.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Motlatsi Mapola, whose name appears on the report as the author, confirmed the authenticity of the report but denied having written it.
The report reveals how Thesele Matela, a young man from Thamae, was viciously assaulted by ‘Maesaiah and her friends at the State House.
This was after Matela had mistakenly called the then Prime Minister Thabane on his mobile phone. Matela wanted to enquire about a job from a taxi owner but incorrectly dialled Thabane’s number instead.

Thabane told Matela that he had called a wrong number but he insisted that he was looking for a job. The report says the “conversation was cut” but Matela received a call from Thabane’s number a few minutes later.
On the line was ‘Maesaiah who the report says was “very rude” and threatened to have Matela arrested.

Matela would later pay dearly for that mistake.
The report alleges that after a few days a group of police officers kidnapped Matela and took him to the police headquarters where he was detained by a team led by Assistant Police Commissioner (ACP) Beleme Lebajoa, who was an inspector at that time.

“The following day he was taken to State House where he was handed over to the First Lady and a group of women who assaulted him,” the report says.

After the beating Matela was handed back to the headquarters where he was ordered to wash blood stains on his body before being released.
He was not charged and the report says all police records “don’t reflect his arrest and detention or a case opened against him”.

Matela then told his ordeal to his mother who took him to Thamae police station to report the alleged kidnapping and assault.
When the Thamae police failed to help Matela, his mother approached Senior Superintendent Mochekoane Nchela who was the officer commanding Maseru Urban at that time.

Senior Superintendent Nchela ordered that Matela be given a medical form to report the case. Assistant Commissioner of Police Mapola is alleged to have instructed some police officers to escort Matela and his mother to Thamae police station where a case was opened.
Matela’s mother also gave a statement detailing how her son was kidnapped and assaulted.

The report says she later complained to Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli who called Thabane and ordered ACP Lebajoa to take her to the State House where she met the prime minister and his wife.
It is alleged that the following week ACP Lebajoa called the mother to his office.

“She came with the son and was given M5 000 as medical expenses and ordered never to utter a word about the incident”.
Senior Inspector Putsoane, who was deputy commanding officer at Thamae, is alleged to have filed a report revealing how ACP Lebajoa demanded the docket on Matela’s case.

Senior Inspector Putsoane was with Superintendent Bokopane when they met ACP Lebajoa who told them that the commissioner had ordered him to collect the docket.
When they resisted ACP Lebajoa asked them about their interest in the matter.

They then surrendered the docket and ACP Lebajoa signed for it. The report recommends that ‘Maesaiah be charged for aggravated assault.
It says ACP Lebajoa and his team should be charged with unlawful detention.

It also says Commissioner Molibeli should also be charged with defeating the course of justice, for directing the victim and his mother to Thabane and his wife instead of facilitating an investigation.

“He also arranged for an appointment, clearly he did not act in accordance with the demands of his office, namely investigation of the matters and to take the same to court. He aided and abetted the commission of crime,” the report says.

“He even ordered for the removal of the docket from Ha Thamae without a proper channel of communication from him to the Regipol central and to Dispol.”
“Later arrangements were made to close the docket and return it to police headquarters, an abnormal development or practice because after the closure cases are filed where they were opened”.
Last night ACP Lebajoa said he was not aware of the issue but referred questions to the police’s press office.

ACP Mapola said he was aware of the details in the report but vehemently denied that he wrote it.
He said his name had been “maliciously used” because he was not the one leading the investigation.
“I can only confirm that I have personal knowledge on the contents of the documents since the complaint was reported to me,” ACP Mapola said.
“I have no idea about the document. I am surprised to see my names in this document. It doesn’t bear my signature to indicate my ownership on the document.”

“I deny any knowledge about this document. I have no knowledge about it except the contents therein.”
Senior Superintendent Nchela said his only role was to approve the Thamae police station to investigate the case “because that case involved a high personality”.

“Everything has to be done where the case was opened,” Senior Superintendent Nchela said.
Neither Commissioner Molibeli nor police spokesperson Superintended Mpiti Mopeli could be reached for a comment at the time of going to print last night.

When the incident happened Matela and his mother promised a tell-all interview with thepost but later changed their minds.
The mother later told thepost that she didn’t want to talk about the issue because it had been resolved. Her son too refused to talk. Efforts to get the docket also come to naught.

Staff Reporter

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