DOUBLE ritual murder suspect, Lehlohonolo Scott, has sensationally claimed that some police officers forced him to implicate Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and a late local businessman in the 2012 killing of two Koalabata residents.
Scott (30) was testifying in a marathon trial in which he and his mother ’Ma Lehlohonolo (60) are accused of murdering fellow Koalabata residents, Moholobela Seetsa (13) and Kamohelo Mohata (22) in January and June 2012 respectively.
In his continuing narration of the events that took place at Mabote Police Station, where he was detained in July 2012, Scott told the High Court that the police forced him to implicate Dr Thabane and the late businessman Thabiso Tšosane in the killing of his two neighbours. Mr Tšosane was shot dead in May 2015 by an unknown assailant as he ferried his workers home.
He said the police told him to make a “confession” before the magistrate that the human body parts found in a vehicle parked at his home were going to be used as muti (ritual medicine) to “strengthen” Dr Thabane in his position as premier.
Dr Thabane served as premier from 2012 until the February 2015 snap elections ushered in a seven-party coalition government headed by Democratic Congress leader, Pakalitha Mosisili.
However, Dr Thabane bounced back as prime minister after the 3 June 2017 snap polls brought in the four party coalition consisting of his ABC, the Alliance of Democrats, the Basotho National Party and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho.
And this week, Scott said a police officer only identified as Inspector Khatleli gave him the instructions to implicate Dr Thabane. He said the instructions were given as the police were assaulting him.
“Khatleli ordered me to explain in full to the magistrate that we killed the deceased persons,” Scott told the court.
“He (Inspector Khatleli) said he knew very well that the vehicle in which they found the body parts belonged to one Thabiso Tšosane and that they were going to be used as muti to strengthen Dr Thabane.
“I categorically refused that I would say such things before the court and Khatleli stood up from where he was sitting, grabbed me on the shoulders, shook me up and told me to abide by what they were telling me.
“After that, he asked if I heard what they told me and I answered in the affirmative.”
Scott said after a short while he asked the police how he should narrate the story to the court.
“Khatleli told me that I am a grown man and I should find a way to put it before the magistrate,” he said, adding the police officers then gave him two note books in which there were recipes for making ritual medicines, “one recipe for healing headaches and another one for the generation of lightning”.
Scott said Inspector Khatleli ordered him to tell the police about his bank accounts as they claimed that Dr Thabane had deposited more than M22 million in his ABSA bank account.
“I told them that I had two bank accounts with Standard Lesotho Bank and one with Nedbank.
“Khatleli said I should also mention a bank account that I hold with ABSA bank in Ladybrand, South Africa in which Thabane had deposited M22.4 million.
“I told him I knew nothing about that bank account and the money he was referring to,” he said.
He said the police warned him against telling the magistrate about their assaults on him including an injection they performed on him.
He further said he was taken into the police cells where he slept the entire night.
“I only noticed myself in one office where I could see a gentleman behind a desk. That gentleman was wearing a red jersey.”
The “gentleman” was in fact a magistrate at the Magistrate Court in Maseru.
He said he remember narrating what had happened with him at the police station where he was detained.
“I don’t recall telling that gentleman other things,” he added.
He said after his interview with the ‘gentleman,’ the Magistrate gave a document to the police officers who took him to a police vehicle. He was taken back to Mabote Police Station.
The case proceeds. It is prosecuted by Advocate Garreth Leppan, assisted by Advocate Thapelo Mokuku, while the Scotts are represented by Advocate Thulo Hoeane.
The Scotts were arrested on 12 July 2012 following the discovery of Seetsa and Mohata’s mutilated bodies in Koalabata. The mutilation of the bodies led to speculation the two had been killed for ritual purposes.
In addition to murder, Scott also faces the charge of unlawful escape from Maseru Central Prison on 14 October, 2012 while awaiting trial.
After almost two years on the run, Scott was arrested in Durban, South Africa on 6 April 2014 and lost his fight against extradition in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on 5 May, 2015.
He was extradited to Lesotho on 21 October 2015, where he awaits finalisation of his trials in custody.
For her part, ’MaScott was released on stringent bail conditions in August 2013.