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‘I acted in self-defence’

by Lesotho Times
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MASERU – Cameraman Habofanoe Ntsie told the High Court on Tuesday that he shot and killed his two neighbours in 2004 in self-defence.

He said he shot and killed Habaka Mahao and Souru Masupha on November 30, 2004 at Lancers Gap because they had been sent by the killer of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s son to kill him.

Ntsie made the remarks while giving his evidence under cross-examination.

He told Justice ’Maseforo Mahase that the two had been contracted to kill him by a man he accused of murdering Maile Mosisili in March 2002.

Ntsie said a former army officer in the Lesotho Defence Force, ’Mole Khumalo, had paid the two men M2 000 to get him killed because he had been investigating the death of Maile Mosisili.

He said his investigation had revealed that Khumalo was the man behind the death of the prime minister’s son.

Khumalo, who is now a practicing lawyer, sat quietly behind the defence and crown lawyers, Haae Phoofolo and Abram Lenono, while Ntsie was testifying in the witness box.

“I have a recorded audio (tape) which will prove that ’Mole Khumalo spoke publicly that he is the one who had sent the two deceased to kill me.

“The audio tapes will attest to the evidence by people who will testify that ’Mole Khumalo gave M2 000 (to the men) and rifles to kill me,” Ntsie told the court.

The issue of tapes which would show there was a conspiracy to murder Ntsie because he was investigating Mosisili’s murder was dismissed by the court last year during a trial-within-a-trial.

When Lenono put it to Ntsie that in his evidence in chief he did not mention that he killed the two men because they had been hired by Khumalo to murder him, the accused said he was denied the chance.

“I did not say it because the court prevented me from saying it,” Ntsie said.

Justice Mahase said dragging Khumalo’s name in the evidence was unfair, especially after Ntsie’s tapes were rejected by the court.

Ntsie’s counsel, Haae Phoofolo, said if Lenono insisted on eliciting information based on the tapes, then his client had a right to refer to that evidence.

Phoofolo had from the beginning indicated that Ntsie would prove that there was conspiracy to kill him.

Having been overruled by the court on the issue of conspiracy, Ntsie testified under cross-examination that on several occasions he reported to Mabote Police Station that the two deceased had blocked him on the road using big rifles.

He told the court he had already completed investigations into the death of Mosisili when Masupha and Mahao were contracted to kill him.

Ntsie said when he reported that he had killed his neighbours, he never mentioned anything about Mosisili’s death because he had to tell the police about what had happened at Lancers Gap.

Asked whether the killing of the two had any bearing on his investigations he replied:  “The killing of these people came as a result of the investigations, which is why I said I was attacked while on duty and the two people were sent to kill me after I completed investigations into Maile Mosisili’s murder.”

“The two deceased people interfered with my investigations because they were brought by the person who killed Maile Mosisili,” he said.

Ntsie told the court that if he had not probed Mosisili’s death, the two men would still be alive.

Khumalo, who Ntsie accused of murdering Mosisili, was allegedly tortured in police custody and later charged together with one Lesoli Maphathe.

The crown however dropped the charges against them because of lack of evidence.

Police recently announced a reward of M2 million for information that could help solve some high profile murders which have occurred in the country the past decade, including Mosisili’s murder near Victoria Hotel in 2002.

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