Army sued for M24.5 million

Army sued for M24.5 million

MASERU – THE family of a police constable who was murdered by the army is demanding a staggering M12 million from the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).
Five other people who claim they were tortured by the army when Police Constable Relebohile Mokone was killed last week are also demanding payment of M2.5 million each.

This brings the total claim from the LDF Commander to a staggering M24.5 million.
The claims are contained in a letter of demand written by their lawyer, Advocate Zwelakhe Mda, to army commander Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela.
thepost heard that the soldiers, who were acting on a tip-off, rushed to Liphiring in Mohale’s Hoek near the border with South Africa where they caught PC Mokone together with five businessmen of Asian descent allegedly smuggling wool out of the country.

The soldiers are alleged to have tortured the six resulting in the death of PC Mokone. The incident happened early last week.
PC Mokone’s family and the tortured suspects have now written to Lt Gen Letsoela demanding compensation. The letter was handed over to the army boss’ offices on Monday.
It is said that four soldiers brutally tortured the victims.
PC Mokone’s parents, ’Makatiso and Paballo Mokone, have instructed their lawyers to demand compensation from the army for the loss of their son.

“We are acting on instructions from the attorney of clients to demand from you immediate payment of the sum of M12 000 000 as damages for unlawful killing of Relebohile Vitalis Mokone,” Advocate Mda said in the letter.
The family said PC Mokone was “subjected to prolonged inhumane, debasing and subduing treatment by members of the Lesotho Defence Force who tortured him until he died”.
Advocate Mda said during that incident, Privates Mokati, Ntaitsane, Perekisi and Sekiane “were acting within the scope of their employment as members of the Lesotho Defence Force”.

He said the commander and the LDF are “vicariously liable for unlawful escapades of the soldiers”.
He said the amount was expected to be payable within 30 days.
“Failing which our instructions are to institute proceedings against you, enforcing our clients’ rights before the High Court without further notice,” he said.
The army’s deputy commander, Major General Matela Matobakele, is facing a backlash from the public after he lambasted the police when he said Lesotho does not have a competent police service.

That incompetence had now resulted in the army being asked to handle policing duties, he said.
Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro has since instructed Maj Gen Matobakele to apologise to the police and withdraw his statement.
Dr Majoro told the Senate yesterday that he was aware of the anger the statement had generated and wants the army’s deputy commander to apologise.

Majoro was answering questions from the Principal Chief of Thaba-Bosiu, Khoabane Theko, who said Maj Gen Matobakele’s statement was “reckless talk”.
He asked Majoro to publicly condemn the army’s statement.
Majoro conceded to the Senate that Maj Gen Matobakele spoke those words that degrade the police institution and “we took measures by sitting him down” and instructed him to withdraw the statement.
Maj Gen Matobakele made the comments while addressing soldiers at Makoanyane Barracks last Thursday.

’Malimpho Majoro & Nkheli Liphoto

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