Witness tells court how  LEC official was killed

Witness tells court how LEC official was killed

MASERU – FOUR police officers on trial for the murder of Thibello Nteso, head of the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) Internal Audit, pleaded not guilty on Monday.
The prosecution called one of its witnesses, Lesotho Television religious affairs programme presenter and journalist Mokete Sello, to testify.
Sello told the court that he witnessed the events on February 6 last year when the police allegedly shot dead Nteso at night in Maseru West near the Police Commissioner’s residence.
He said on the night that Nteso was fatally shot, he was at his younger brother Ntelane Sello’s LEC official residence in Maseru West.

Sello told the court that he was with his younger brother and a cousin between 8pm and 9pm when they heard persistent sounds of gunshots.
“We all went down on the floor and the gun sounds intensified. We lied down even more,” he told the court.
The witness said they huddled together as the shots were fired persistently.
He told the court that as the sounds died down, his journalist instinct pushed him to check out the situation.

“I got up and tried to see what was happening outside. Since the house is a double-storey, I went to the upper floor but while still there, I remembered that I had a camera.
“I went down to fetch it but my younger brother stopped me from using it as we were all terrified,” Sello said.
He told the court that he still insisted on going up the stairs and upon peeping through the window he saw Special Operation Unit (SOU) members gathering near the former Commissioner of Police Molahlehi Letsoepa’s residence.

He said he saw a person lying down and a car moving away from the body to hurriedly park at the LEC residences.
He told the court that he then saw a uniformed member of the SOU coming out of the car, leaving the vehicle idling with its wipers and lights on.
Sello said the SOU member hurriedly went back to other police officers who were still gathering near the body.

A 4×4 vehicle without registration number plates drove past the gathering of police officers before quickly returning to the scene, said Sello.
The cops put the body into the 4×4 vehicle and drove towards the eastern direction from LEC premises, the court heard from Sello.
As he was still looking through the window, a water-canon shortly arrived and parked close to the police officers.

He informed the court that he heard voices of people and it seemed they were discussing “something”.
He said he then decided to go and join the conversation outside and found other LEC workers who were going to the crime scene.
“I went there too and we discovered that the car that was parked near LEC premises by the SOU member belonged to the late Nteso,” he said.

“I went to the car and inspected it. It had some blood stains on the driver’s seat and there were a number of bullet holes on it as well as a gun poster,” said Sello.
“At that time the police ‘team talk’ seemed to be over and immediately the water-cannon car flashed its light towards us in such a manner that its aim was to obstruct our eyesight,” he said.
Sello said with the witnesses dazed by the lights, the police seemed to collect “something” from the ground.

He said his suspicion was that they were washing the blood on the ground.
“It was as if something was being hidden,” he said.
Sello told the court that while still waiting, a recovery vehicle arrived and towed away Nteso’s car.
He said some police officers later arrived and quizzed them on what they had witnessed.

During cross-examination, Advocate Khotso Nthontho, one of the lawyers representing the accused cops, told Sello that he was manufacturing the evidence.
Adv Nthontho said Sello did not mention that he saw the police “doing something on the ground” when he gave a statement to the police.
He said Sello in his statement to the police did not mention the water-canon but he said there was a fire fighter.

“I put it to you that there was neither a fire fighter nor police doing something on the ground,” he said.
The case continues.

Senate Sekotlo

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