Commission span extended

FamCast News
23 days ago


‘Mantšali Phakoana

The commission of inquiry established to investigate the circumstances surrounding the torture and escape of inmates during a search exercise at the Maseru Central Correctional Institution (MCCI) in December last year has extended its proceedings to September this year.

This is after the commission chairperson, Justice Realeboha Mathaba, requested a two-month extension to finalise testimonies.

The M2 million budgeted commission was established through a gazette published on April, 5 2024 and given two months up to June 5 to complete its probe.

During recent proceedings, Justice Mathaba said the commission had not yet completed its work as it was yet to hear key testimonies.

The commission comprising Justice Mathaba and other two commissioners; former deputy prime minister and a human rights lawyer Advocate Kelebone Maope, as well as former commissioner of the Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) Mojalefa Thulo is expected to submit its report to the prime minister upon completion of investigations.

The minister of justice and law, Richard Ramoeletsi, confirmed the extension in an interview with theReporter.

He indicated that within two months of its operation, the government has spent less than the actual M2 million that was budgeted for the commission.

“The commission has requested an extension of two months and their request has been granted. The proceedings will continue until September.

“The Legal Notice for the extension of the first month has already been published and the government will later issue another legal notice for the second month,” he noted.

The commission was established through Legal Notice No.26 of 2024 published on April 5, 2024 and mounted pursuant to section 3 (1) of the Public Enquiries Act, 1994.

According to the gazette, the commission was set up to investigate, appraise and evaluate the circumstances that led to escape of inmates at the Maseru Central Facility on December 21, 2023.

The commissioners, in exercise of their duties, will enjoy the same protection, privileges and immunity as those of judges of the High Court.

The body is also charged with enquiring and determining circumstances surrounding the escape of inmates, as well as examining, appraising and evaluating security measures within the LCS.

It will further investigate operations undertaken by members of the LCS after the escape of the inmates.

The commission is also expected to probe and determine circumstances that led to the use of force during the search operation, and also consider the report of the Ombudsman and of the commissioner of LCS and any other documents relevant to the inquiry.