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Two high profile cases deferred

Business

Mohloai Mpesi

A high profile treason case in which two politicians are challenging joinder in the High Court of Lesotho has been pushed back.

In the matter, the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) leader and Minister of Development Planning, Selibe Mochoboroane and the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) as well as former Deputy Prime Minister, Mothetjoa Metsing are challenging a move to enjoin them to the already incarcerated former army commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and his co-accused for the August 30, 2014 attempted coup.

The case was slated for August 31 due to Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane’s illness which was announced this Tuesday morning.  

Justice Sakoane took over the matter following the resignation of the Botswana-born Judge; Onkemetse Tshosa earlier this month. Prior to his resignation, Tshosa had endorsed an indictment in February 19 this year for the two politicians to join their co-accused in the dock upon which the pair premised their challenge.

Kamoli who has been in remand since 2017, is charged alongside Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Lance Corporal Leutsoa Motsieloa and Motloheloa Ntsane which is also connected to the murder of Police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko.

Ramahloko was brutally murdered by soldiers at the Police Headquarters during what the army had described as a mission to deter the police from arming rogue elements of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) youths who would have used the arms against members of then co-ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) with whom they had just fallen out of favour.

The move was largely seen as a coup attempt against the then Thomas Thabane-led government.

The criminal trial has been stayed on the premise of the then Southern African Development Community (SADC) decision for all politically-related cases to remain stashed pending finalization of the national reforms agenda.

The pair was struck off the Appeal’s court roll which raised odds against the duo to join their co-accused in the dock. That’s when they went to Tshosa who was presiding over to complain over their joinder but the foreign judge had not decided on the application before handing his resignation a fortnight ago and the matter was left in the hands of Justice Sakoane.

Advocate Motiea Teele KC who represents the duo told the court last week that his clients are not accused with a mere filing of indictment at the court’s registry and only that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has decided so, but one becomes an accused only when the indictment has been done in terms of law.

He further argued that his clients’ indictment has been incorrectly added before the court while a person becomes accused when the matter is appropriately filed “…and there is no objection or illegality that can be raised in relation to the filing of the charge,” citing section 119 of the CP and E.  

Elsewhere, a case in which four soldiers are accused of murdering three civilians in Mafeteng, Ha Motanyane also failed to take-off after the presiding judge over the case, Justice Polo Banyane was also said to be in quarantine.

The accused in the matter are, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Lance Corporal Khauhelo Makoae, Lance Corporal Sebilo Sebilo, Private TÅ¡epo Tlakeli and Thebe TÅ¡epe for murdering Thabang Mosole, Monyane Matsie and Pakiso Letatabe in 2012.

The case was supposed to have commenced in March but was deferred to April 13, 2021 after the Crown Counsel, Advocate Mosoeunyane Masiphole told the court that three of his eight witnesses were involved in a car accident.

Advocate Kabelo Mohau in the defense council withdrew from the case citing that he had not been given enough time to look into the matter and plan his defense accordingly.

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