Inept LCS boss should leave: Law Society



MASERU – The Law Society of Lesotho is calling for the resignation of Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) Commissioner Mating Nkakala. The society accuses Nkakala of incompetence and says his departure would restore public trust and uphold the principles of justice failing which would result in the society’s council instituting a court application to force Nkakala out.

Trouble started when six inmates at the Maseru Central Correctional Institution escaped from custody around Christmas time after which reports of brutal assaults on inmates at the facility emerged. In a statement published on Wednesday this week, the society said a security breach and reported acts of violence at Maseru Central prison “demand a change of leadership.”

The Law Society expressed concerned noting the incidents not only represent a serious breach of security but also raise alarming questions about protection of Human Rights and the rule of law. “The Law Society condemns any acts of violence or abuse within correctional facilities and emphasizes the importance of upholding the fundamental rights of individuals, including those in custody. The principles of justice, fairness and respect for human dignity must prevail even in the most challenging circumstances,” reads the statement in part.    

It further states that any form of violence, torture or abuse against inmates is unacceptable, unethical and illegal adding that those that participated in the torture of inmates at the facility will face the law. “Those responsible must be held accountable for their actions and the Law Society will be approaching the courts of law for redress in due course.”

The government has also been called to take immediate and decisive action to address systemic issues within correctional facilities by implementing accountability measures such as disciplinary actions and legal consequences. This happens as two criminal cases related to the torturing of inmates have been reported to the police. One Tlotliso Bereng and Sebilo Sebilo both laid criminal charges against the LCS command on two separate occasions.

Sebilo’s lawyers wrote to the Commissioner of Police on December 28, 2023 notifying him of the intention to lay charges but were dismissed. In the letter, five correctional services officers are listed as assailants and police have been asked to investigate them. It is said their names were revealed before the High Court as victims led evidence during their appearance.

“The evidence given before the High Court revealed that officer Manaka, officer Rats’ele, officer Sekokotoane, officer Khuso Mohale, Officer Nkhapetla, officer Ramphielo and others unknown to client were positively identified as the assailants.” The government says it will conduct a thorough investigation through an independent commission of inquiry which will be established to get to the bottom of what transpired.

“On behalf of government, I am making a commitment that thorough investigations will be conducted through an independent commission of inquiry that will be established to get to the bottom of what transpired and the recommendations of the commission will be made public,” Law and Justice Minister Richard Ramoeletsi said. The recommendations, he said, will be implemented so that similar events do not happen again in future.

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