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May 23, 2024
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COMMISSION OF INQUIRY RESUMES DUTIES

COMMISSION OF INQUIRY RESUMES DUTIESMaseru, Apr. 22 — The Commission of Inquiry, which was appointed by the government regarding inmates who were alleged to have been ill-treated by LCS officers during a search exercise that was conducted in December last year, resumed its duties today (Monday).

This was revealed by the Minister of Law and Justice Mr. Richard Ramoeletsi in an interview with the Agency.

Mr. Ramoeletsi said the Commission consists of the Chairperson, who is Justice Realeboha Mathaba, Mr. Kelebone Maope and Mr. Mojalefa Thulo as members.

“The Commission was established in line with the Public Inquiries Act of 1994,” he said, adding that the legal notice, which was released on April 05 gave the Commission Authority to resume duties and execute the work.

He indicated that the Commission will investigate the circumstances that led to the escape of inmates in December last year, which also resulted in the ill treatment of inmates of which some of them  were reported to be severely injured and one inmate died in the process.

He clarified that LCS also did its internal assessment with regard to this matter as well as the office of the Ombudsman which did its inquiry.

He said the Commission is given two months to do the work and that time might be extended with another month if there is need.

Asked if the commission will implement some of the recommendations of the Ombudsman, Mr. Ramoeletsi said only the recommendations of the Commission will be implemented after it has given a report.

He further clarified that it is up to the Commission to decide if it could reveal some of the issues before the media for public knowledge during the inquiry or not, for security reasons.

Meanwhile, as per Legal  notice No. 26 of 2024, consistent with section 3 of Public Inquiries  Act,  the Commission shall amongst others examine, appraise and evaluate the security measures within LCS, investigate on the instances around operations undertaken by members of staff of LCS after the escape of inmates as well as to investigate and determine the circumstances that led to the use of force during the search operation.

A report from the Ombudsman indicates that at least 650 inmates were searched by 114 LCS recruits after six inmates were reported to have escaped from the maximum block in Central Prison on December 21 last year.

The report also indicates that one of the inmates died in the process while others were severely injured with one paralyzed.

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