THREE Lesotho Funeral Services (LFS) employees are the latest to be brought in for questioning as police intensify investigations into the disappearance and suspected murder of Police Constable (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng.
PC Khetheng was stationed in Mokhotlong and last seen being arrested by his colleagues at a traditional feast in Sebothoane, Leribe on 25 March 2016. He has not been seen or heard from since then.
This prompted his father, Thabo Khetheng, to lodge an application before the High Court on 18 July 2016 for the police authorities to produce him dead or alive.
PC Khetheng had been arrested and charged on allegations that he torched the house of his superior in Mokhotlong district where he was deployed.
He was allegedly last seen with Inspector Mofolo, PC Ntoane, PC ‘Mabohlokoa Makotoko and Senior Inspector Matona.
The LMPS had argued that PC Khetheng had left the Hlotse police station without permission and they did not know where he was. For its part, the Khetheng family argued that the police should know where he was because they arrested him.
A body believed to be that of PC Khetheng was exhumed at Lepereng Cemetery in the Maseru district on 11 August after the police were granted a court order by the Magistrate’s Court in light of the ongoing investigations into his disappearance and suspected killing.
The body was among those that were given pauper’s burials by LFS.
Police spokesperson, Inspector Mpiti Mopeli, on Tuesday confirmed to the Lesotho Times that three LFS employees were detained at the Police Headquarters in Maseru over the weekend to assist police with their investigations.
Inspector Mopeli said although they subsequently released without any charges, they could still be summoned if necessary.
“The three employees are from different branches of the LFS and they spent the whole weekend in police custody assisting police with investigations,” Inspector Mopeli said, adding, “They have since been released with a possibility to be called back if there is need”.
Contacted for comment, the Human Resource Manager of LFS, Siphiwo Mseti said while they were aware that their officers were called in for questioning, they “were not ready to comment on this as we don’t know why they were called in”.
“We are not going to get into any details lest we be perceived to be defeating the ends of justice.
“At the end of the day the police are in the know and we cannot defend what we don’t know and we are not clear whether it is in connection with this particular (PC Khetheng) case but we will be guided by the charges. We are going to let the police do their investigations,” Mr Mseti said.
He also refuted allegations that the body believed to be that of PC Khetheng was embalmed in a special way different from other bodies that LFS handled.
“All bodies are preserved without exception to contain diseases within the mortuary or even upon expatriation.
“Embalming is just one of the many methods used to preserve a body, especially bodies which have gone under a post-mortem. It’s not cast on stone how one may be embalmed,” he said.
A Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SACP) was also arrested and subsequently last week.
The Lesotho Times has since learnt that the latter was released on the basis that he had made a confession and could also be recalled at a later stage where more suspects could also be apprehended.
“He was released without any charges levelled against him but this doesn’t mean that he can’t be recalled if the need arises,” Inspector Mopeli said.
This brings the number of people who have been brought in for questioning to four, while another four have been charged with murder.
The four police officers who have been charged and are in custody pending bail application are Thabo Tšukulu (51), Mabitle Matona (39), Haleokoe Taasoane (44) and Mothibeli Mofolo (49).
Acting Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli last week promised more arrests would be made in connection with the alleged murder of PC Mokalekale Khetheng, adding that “the net is closing on all the suspects”.