FOUR police officers who stand accused of murdering Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) head of the internal audit department, Thibello Nteso, have been remanded to 5 February, 2018 by the Maseru Magistrates’ Court.
The quartet first appeared in court on 12 January 2018 to face charges of murdering Mr Nteso near the residence of former police commissioner, Molahlehi Letsoepa, on 6 February 2017.
The four are police constables, Moeketsi Dlamini (38) from Ha Mofoka and Monaheng ’Musi (30) from Ha Motsepa in Thaba-Tseka, Inspector Thaele Ramajoe (45) from Koabata in Berea and Superintendent Tlala Phatela (52) from Ha Phatela in Qacha’s Nek.
They also face an additional charge of malicious damage to property for allegedly damaging the deceased’s vehicle.
Magistrate, Monyake Hlabanyane, on Monday remanded them in custody to 5 of February, 2018 after submissions by Maseru District Public Prosecutor, Qcinumuzi Tshabalala, who told the court that police investigations into the matter were ongoing.
It is the state case that Dlamini and ’Musi were on guard duty at the home of the then Police Commissioner, Letsoepa, in Maseru West on 6 February, 2017 when they allegedly shot and killed the 44-year-old Mr Nteso.
He was shot once in the hip area and the same bullet also penetrated the other leg.
The constables claimed they had suspected a plot to attack the former police commissioner after they noticed a firearm-holder in the late Mr Nteso’s car which was parked near Mr Letsoepa’s residence.
They fired shots at Mr Nteso’s vehicle at about 9pm that night to stop him as he was driving away from the residence of the LEC corporate secretary who lives near the former police commissioner.
It is alleged that Mr Nteso was at the corporate secretary’s residence to work on a forensic audit report. A fortnight ago, the deceased’s younger brother, Tankiso Nteso, told the Lesotho Times that his brother had confided in him that he had been handling a big case of embezzlement of funds from LEC coffers involving more than M170 million.
It is understood his forensic audit had contributed to the suspension of the Managing Director and the Chief Finance Officer.
The other two suspects in the murder case, Inspector Ramajoe and Superintendent Phatela, allegedly ordered the cover-up of the murder by tampering with the crime scene.
The officers were arrested a few days after the family of the late Mr Nteso told this publication of their disappointment at the slow pace of the police investigations into his murder.
The police later explained that the delays were caused by the unavailability of Mr Nteso’s post mortem report which was only handed over to them two weeks ago to facilitate the arrest of the suspects.
Last year, the Nteso family hired a private investigator and a private pathologist as they were wary of the credibility of the police investigations and the findings of the government pathologist.
The deceased’s younger brother said the findings by the private investigator showed that Mr Nteso’s murder was linked to his work which would have exposed the embezzlement of more than M170 million from LEC.