Two Special Operations Unit (SOU) police officers who murdered the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC)’s Head of Internal Audit Thibello Nteso evaded the hangman’s noose or a lifetime and were only slapped with 20 years of imprisonment.
The sentence was passed by Judge Moroke Mokhesi on Wednesday in the High Court of Lesotho.
The murderous, Moeketsi Dlamini and Monaheng ‘Musi were sentenced to 20 years in jail without an option of fine after being found guilty of cold-bloodedly gunning-down Nteso on a rainy night of February 6, 2017.
Justice Mokhesi said the court considered the mitigation factors after the duo showed a sense of remorse for their “impulsive” and irrational actions. He said the deceased posed no threat to the officers.
“I have considered the facts put forth by your counsel as constituting with mitigating factors, the facts put forth as evincing your remorse for what you did.
“I have also considered the seriousness of this crime given that you are police officers. Police officers are expected at all time to act with self-restraint. They are not expected to act impulsively and irrationally like you did in this case.
“I have already found that the deceased did not pose any threat to you. You killed him for ignoring your unlawful orders not to access his car, and the courts viewed the seriousness of your conduct that you executed in this case with much seriousness,” he said.
The two assassins were guarding the premises of the former Police Commissioner Molahlehi Letsoepa at his Maseru West abode when they sprayed Nteso’s Maroon Mercedes Benz which parked outside the residence of Letsoepa with high density bullets.
The two police constables’ argument that they shot the deceased in self-defense was brushed aside by the court. Mokhesi said the duo acted unprofessionally because they were fully armed to defend themselves against an attack.
“The circumstances of this case are disturbing and disheartening; the offence was committed by law enforcement officers in the circumstances which quite frankly were unwarranted.
“The deceased had parked his car next to their duty station without blocking entrance there. It was only the accused’s unwarranted sense of nervousness and a feeling of insecurity that led to the callous acts. It was unwarranted because they were fully armed and could have easily defended themselves against an attack, but they allowed themselves to act amateurishly,” he said.
“The deceased was not a threat to them; his only crime was ignoring the accused unlawful orders for him not to access his car. They were helped in the process by one of their colleagues in creating an aura of exchange of fire between themselves and the deceased.
“Their feeble attempts at creating an impression that they acted in self-defense is not borne out by evidence. The impact this callous murder must have had and continues to have on the deceased young family is immeasurable. It is not an insignificant thing to lose one’s parent at this young age and in circumstances of this case.
“A deep emotional scar this murder should have had on the deceased’s wife and children and his immediate family is bound to last for a considerable time.
“Moeketsi Dlamini I sentence you to imprisonment for period of 20 years without an option of the fine. Monaheng ‘Musi I sentence you to imprisonment for a period of 20 years without an option of the fine.
“I hand out judgment,” he concluded.
Nteso was shot on the thigh with AK47 bullet which penetrated to the other side causing an immense blood loss. He succumbed to heavy wounds upon arrival at Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital.
At the time of his merciless killing, Nteso was allegedly probing the state owned power utility’s looted funds in the sum not less than M170million.