…as lawyer claims investigators are forcing Scott to implicate top politicians in his escape
Brian Chiwanza and Tefo Tefo
Double ritual murder suspect Lehlohonolo Scott said he was not going to apply for bail when he appeared before Chief Magistrate ‘Matankiso Nthunya yesterday.
The 30-year-old had been brought before the court to be read his new charge—that of escaping from lawful custody.
Scott was awaiting trial for allegedly killing his Koalabata neighbours, Moholobela Seetsa (13) and Kamohelo Mohata (22), when he broke out of Maseru Central Prison on 14 October 2012 and fled to South Africa.
He had been arrested on 12 July 2012 alongside his mother, ’Malehlohonolo, following the discovery of Seetsa and Mohata’s mutilated bodies in Koalabata in January and June 2012 respectively. The mutilation led to claims that the victims had been murdered for ritual purposes.
After two years on the run, Scott was arrested in Durban on 6 April 2014, but when he appeared before the Durban North Magistrate’s Court, Lesotho’s most wanted fugitive claimed he was a South African and not a Lesotho citizen.
However, after the Verulam Magistrate’s Court dismissed his claim, Scott launched an unsuccessful legal bid to stop his extradition to Lesotho.
He was eventually extradited on 21 October and appeared before High Court judge, Justice Teboho Joseph Moiloa, the same day.
The judge remanded him in custody until 23 November 2015 when his murder trial is set to resume.
However, the visibly shaken Scott was brought before the Maseru Magistrate’s Court yesterday for his additional charge, which was read to him by Prosecutor Thapelo Mokuku.
According to Advocate Mokuku, Scott was being charged with contravening Section 89 of the Penal Code Act Number 6 of 2010.
The charge sheet read: “In that upon or about 13 and 14 October 2012 and at or near the Lesotho Correctional Service in the district of Maseru, the said accused, sharing a common purpose together (with a person(s)) and in pursuit of such a purpose, did escape from lawful custody and or was assisted to escape from lawful custody, the said accused did contravene provisions of the said code.”
After the charge was read, Scott said he understood the indictment and Advocate Mokuku proceeded to advise him of his right to apply for bail and a lawyer.
But in response, Scott said he was not going to seek bail, without stating why.
“Yes, I understand the charge but I am not going to apply for bail,” Scott responded.
Advocate Mokuku then asked the Court to further remand Scott.
“May he be remanded and in the meantime, we will be processing an indictment and possible committal for trial in the High Court,” Advocate Mokuku told the court.
Magistrate Nthunya then remanded Scott to 18 November 2015. His mother, who has since been released on bail, is expected to join him when he appears in the High Court on 23 November.
Meanwhile, Scott’s lawyer, Advocate Thulo Hoeane yesterday, told the Lesotho Times that he was not aware that his client had appeared in court in the morning.
The Lesotho Times had called Advocate Hoeane to find out why his client had rejected bail.
“I am not aware that he appeared in court today; in fact, I am actually shocked by what you are telling me because no-one informed me about it,” Advocate Hoeane said.
The lawyer, however, made equally shocking allegations that investigators want Scott to implicate some top politicians in his escape from prison.
Advocate Hoeane said: “Something interesting that Scott has told me is that the investigators want him to implicate some top political figures in his escape and I have advised him not to say anything to them.
“I have the names of the people he has been told to say helped him escape but I cannot disclose them for security purposes.”
Advocate Hoeane further complained that the investigators were frequently visiting Scott and asking him about his prison-escape.
The lawyer said it was “irregular” for detectives to interview a person who has been remanded by a court of law.
“When he came from South Africa, the police took him straight to court and Justice Moiloa remanded him in custody. This means he is now answerable to the court,” Advocate Hoeane said.
“These people should have investigated his escape before bringing him to court but they now go to prison to ask him how he got away.
“On Friday last week, Scott told me that he could not say anything to them because he wanted to consult me first. I advised him not to say anything because he might incriminate himself if he does.
“But this is unlawful because the investigators should not have access to him because he has been remanded by a court of law.”