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Metsing, Mochoboroane’s bid to dodge treason trial

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Mohloai Mpesi

Former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing and current Minister of Development Planning Selibe Mochoboroane have opposed the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP)’s bid to have them join in the treason and murder trial.

This according to their lawyer Advocate Motiea Teele KC on Tuesday as he sought to make their case before Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane who is presiding over the case.

Advocate Teele told the court that the DPP, Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane wrongly exercised her powers when charging the two politicians while the indictment was already made in 2018, thus they could not join the already existing indictment which was initially made for the accused, former army commander Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli and others.  

The attempt to have the two political figures charged follows the August 30, 2014 bid to overcome the then government led by then Prime Minister Motsoahae Thomas Thabane’s second stint and the murder of Police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko who was shot and killed by members of the Lesotho Defence Force who raided the Police Headquarters on the ground that he was refusing to give up the LMPS arsenal.

“As far as this case is concerned, what sets it apart from other cases before court is the fact that there had been an indictment which was already filed of record in 2018 against the respondents from number three to six and not the applicants,” Teele said.

“The recurrent theme in the complaints is that the applicants are contesting their indictment summarily in that trial of 2018 which an attempt was made to include them in 2020. The only charge in that indictment was a charge of murder against number three to six respondents.

“The applicants are challenging the ability of the DPP to join them in that indictment by bringing this one which is the second. DPP appears to have considered that exercising her powers in terms of the provisions of section 144 (1) of the Criminal Procedure.

He argued that, “if you compare section 92 with 144, section 144 is remedial and turns to remedy the situations that are foreshadowed in the criteria and in the event could not have been dealt with sufficiently under section 92.

“We know that the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act section 92 (1) provides one of the machineries of bringing the accused persons before the High court.       

“No person shall be tried in the High Court for any offence unless he has previously been committed for a trial by much whether or not the committal for trial by Magistrate, whether or not the committal was on a direction of DPP under the powers conferred under section 90 (1) C, for or irrespective of the charge in the indictment.

“It is either done in terms of 92 or 144. Now, 144 got certain criteria that must be satisfied by the DPP before she can exercise her powers. The applicants contend that this has not been satisfied. The provisions of 144 do not in any way provide for process of joinder, that process of joinder is a matter that is provided elsewhere in the CVNE.

“There is no evidence that there has been an interference with the witnesses. We are contending that we cannot join to an existing indictment,” he stressed.

He further charged that a bid to have his clients dragged to the dock is politically motivated and made in malice to destroy his clients’ political career.

He contended that Motinyane’s decision in February 2020 to have the duo join the dock was influenced by political pressure.

He added that in her affidavit, the DPP said there had to be political change of government for investigations to place as the two would cordon the probing while they were still in government.

This shows that she is going with political wind.

Metsing and Mochoboroane are charged alongside former army Kamoli, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Lance Corporal Motloheloa Ntsane and Leutsoa Motsieloa.

The case has been deferred back to September 27, 2021 for the Crown’s argument in the matter.         

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