Mokhosi’s driver sues for M2.3  million for torture

Mokhosi’s driver sues for M2.3 million for torture

MASERU – HE was stripped naked and interrogated and thoroughly beaten by the police while his feet and hands were fastened together.
He was also doused with cold water and beaten with sticks.
The torture went on for five days.

Now Zele Mpheshea, a former driver to former defence minister Tšeliso Mokhosi, is suing the police for M2.3 million.
The police accused Mpheshea of playing a key role in the disappearance and brutal murder of Police Constable Mokalekale Khetheng.
Mpheshea, who is currently in exile in South Africa, told thepost in an exclusive interview that the police subjected him to unspeakable torture in March 2016.

He said the police wanted him to implicate his boss, Mokhosi, in the killing of Khetheng.
Mokhosi served as defence minister in the last coalition government led by Pakalitha Mosisili.
Mokhosi is also in exile in South Africa. He claims the police also subjected him to brutal torture to force him to confess to the murder.
In his court papers seen by thepost this week, Mpheshea says he “suffered certain bodily injuries and his dignity was impaired”.
He wants M500 000 for unlawful arrest and M1 500 000 for shock, pain and suffering he endured during the ordeal.

He also wants M300 000 for contumelia or the humiliation he suffered at the hands of the police and a further M1 000 for medical expenses.
Police’s Senior Inspector Lebajoa is the first defendant while Sergeant Nkeane is the second defendant. P/C Lethoko and an officer only identified as Tshabalala is the fourth defendant.

The Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General are the fifth and sixth respondents respectively.
He says he was “suffocated with a wet plastic bag and whenever he reached a point of losing consciousness they let him breath only to start the process all over again repeatedly”.

Mpheshea says the police wanted him to confess driving a certain vehicle that transported four police officers who went on to kill Khetheng.
He says he was eventually locked up in a cell.

After about three hours, Mpheshea says he was again taken to an office where he was subjected to further torture and was “persuaded to implicate himself and Mokhosi as accomplices in the murder of Khetheng”. He says he was subjected to “barbaric torture” during the interrogation.

He was however released on August 28 last without being charged. “By reason of such conduct, plaintiff suffered certain bodily injuries and his dignity was impaired. Consequently, the plaintiff sustained damages in the sum of M2 301 000.” “The members of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service were at all material times hereto acting within the scope and course of their employment as such,” he says in his court papers.

In an exclusive interview with thepost this week from his hide-out in South Africa, Mpheshea said the police arrived at his home in Sekamaneng at the crack of dawn on August 28 last year saying they wanted to arrest him in connection with a case of burglary that had occurred in Ha-Thetsane.
He said the police told him their names and asked him to open the door.

Mpheshea said he took a while to open the door as he sought to confirm that they were indeed police officers.
“As i opened the door, I found that there were four police officers. They pushed me back into the house,” he said.
As they stormed into the house, Mpheshea said the police lurched to the shelves and perused them.
“They asked me what dangerous weapons were in my house. They searched the house thoroughly to their satisfaction,” he said.

He said he told them that he is not a criminal but an emerging politician who also survives on part-time jobs.
Mpheshea said the police took him to the police headquarters where he was stripped naked.
He said he was interrogated by the police where his feet and hands were fastened together and beaten.
He said the police wanted him to say Mokhosi had a hand in the killing of Khetheng.
But he refused to implicate his boss and leader.

Mpheshea said the number of police officers who interrogated him increased from four to seven.
He said the police were asking him what he knew about Khetheng’s death.
“I told them that I did not have any information (about the killing),” Mpheshea said.
He said they asked him where he was on March 16, 2016 and what he was doing and with who?
He said the police officers asked him about a twin-cab 4×4 that they said he used to drive.

Mpheshea said he was suffocated with a plastic bag as he was beaten.
He said his body became numb due to the severe pain that was inflicted on his body.
He said his torture lasted for hours and continued on other days.

Mpheshea said when he was taken to court to extend his detention, the police ordered him to tell the magistrate that all was fine.
“I did as I was ordered because I was afraid of the police,” he said.
He said they told him that they were given an order to force him to incriminate the LCD leader, Mothetjoa Metsing.
He said as he endured pain, the police were busy on their WhatsApp leaving him hanging.

“I had difficulties breathing. As my body was shivering from the pain, the police laughed at me saying I was a sangoma,” he said.
He said he was then released after five days of inhumane torture.
After being released, he said he met his lawyer who instituted legal proceedings against the police.
He said his lawyer has been communicating with the lawyer for the police in writing.
And ever since then, the police have been after him. He then skipped the country.
He said he is afraid that the police could kill him.

Mokhosi is also the deputy leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) while Mpheshea is a member of its youth committee in Khubetsoana constituency. Mpheshea said although he was contracted as Mokhosi’s driver he never actually drove the minister.
Mokhosi has been charged with the murder of Khetheng along with four police officers, Thabo Tšukulu, Mabitle Matona, Haleokoe Taasoane and Mothibeli Mofolo.

He is now out on bail and attends remands on dates stipulated by the court.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said he was not aware that the police were after Mpheshea.
He said if there is something that the police want from Mpheshea, he should go to the police and hand himself over.

Majara Molupe

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