MASERU — The controversy surrounding the alleged arrest of Lehlohonolo Scott is refusing to die down.
Two authoritative sources have told the Lesotho Times that Scott was in fact arrested in South Africa last month and is being held in Cape Town by law enforcement authorities in that country.
Cabinet had nevertheless decided not to divulge details of the arrest until all extradition formalities had been completed and until all allegations being raised by Scott against unnamed prominent local businessmen, who had allegedly aided him in his dastardly acts, including his infamous prison break, had been investigated and verified.
However, the sources said, Correctional Services Minister Mophato Monyake had defied his cabinet colleagues and gone public with details of the arrest, presumably to extract political capital ahead of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) party’s elective conference early next year.
Monyake has attributed Scott’s arrest to his own effort, claiming he had hired private investigators to help nail Scott.
But Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, Justice, Constitutional Affairs and Human Rights Minister Haae Phoofolo, the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) had contradicted Monyake’s statements saying Scott was still on the loose.
Phoofolo said even if he had been arrested, extraditing Scott to Lesotho would not be a walk in the park as South African laws forbade extraditions to countries like Lesotho that still applied capital punishment.
Monyake has since insisted that Scott is under arrest and is being kept at a secret location in South Africa. He has credited Scott’s arrest to himself by claiming that he had hired private detectives to help in nailing the fugitive ritual murderer.
The Lesotho Times’ own efforts to confirm Scott’s alleged arrest directly with South African authorities failed yesterday with police and justice departments’ spokespersons in that country promising to investigate the matter before issuing a substantive comment.
However, two authoritative Lesotho government sources said Scott was under arrest in South Africa.
They said he had been arrested in Cape Town where he had been working as a labourer for a construction company.
The sources said Monyake had been against the idea of withholding the news about Scott’s arrest and had proposed that it all be made public before meeting resistance from cabinet colleagues.
Those opposed to Monyake were fearful that some of the suspects implicated by Scott in the human organ trade would flee from Lesotho, once news of his arrest and his cooperation with law enforcement officers, was made public.
Monyake has since disclosed that Scott is cooperating with law enforcement officials and has implicated some high profile business persons in the ritual killings for illegal trade in human organs.
“He has already fingered very big businessmen in (aiding him) in the ritual murders and of involvement in the human body parts trade and even of assisting in his prison break… and those are names that will shock this country…..,” Monyake told the Lesotho Times two weeks back.
Monyake has since maintained his line that Scott is under lock and key in interviews with other media houses.
The contradictions emanating from the government over Scott’s alleged arrest have drawn the ire of opposition leaders with Democratic Congress (DC) deputy leader Monyane Moleleki saying this was ample proof that the coalition was “dysfunctional”.
Moleleki said the bickering between Prime Minister Thabane and his ministers was stripping government of its credibility. It was now apparent that the government did not live by the “collective responsibility principle” which was “the cardinal rule of any healthy government”, said the deputy DC leader.
“This bickering has left the public confused as it is indicative of people who do not work together. Not only has it stripped the government of its credibility, but the government’s credibility is in fact dead,” Moleleki said.
Moleleki said the government should explain all the contradictions it had proffered thus far.
Scott escaped from the Maseru Central Prison last October after his arrest earlier in July 2013 for the brutal murders of Moholobela Seetsa and Kamohelo Mohata, in January and June last year.
Both Seetsa and Mohata’s bodies were found dismembered, raising suspicions that some of their body parts could have been harvested for ritual purposes.
Mohata, 20, a student at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and friend of Scott, had gone missing for a week before some of his remains were found in Scott’s vehicle and others in a pit latrine at Koalabata Primary School.
Seetsa, 13, had last been seen at a neighbour’s house inflating his bicycle’s tyre before some of his remains were found at a nearby donga in his Koalabata village.
The ritual murders and Scott’s arrest and subsequent escape from prison transfixed this Kingdom as people sought elusive answers surrounding the whole sordid affair.