Home NewsLocal News Mahao trial continues despite Thabane’s order

Mahao trial continues despite Thabane’s order

by Lesotho Times
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By Bongiwe Zihlangu and Tefo Tefo

MASERU –– A military court dissolved last Wednesday following a directive from Defence Minister and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, was reinstated this week and continues tomorrow at the Makoanyane Barracks.

Thabane had reportedly dissolved the court on the basis that it was incapable of giving Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao, who is accused of misconduct, a fair trial.

However, a source close to the case yesterday told the Lesotho Times that the court convened “as usual” the following day despite Thabane’s order.

“The court convened on Thursday, as expected, and Brigadier Mahao was not in attendance, but his lawyer, Advocate Patrick Tšenoli, was there. The court indicated the case would continue on March 4, which it did yesterday.

“As far as we’re concerned, there was never a directive from anywhere that the court martial should be disbanded,” said the LDF source.

Mahao yesterday confirmed the case still continues before the military court despite Thabane’s dissolution order.

“Indeed, I was supposed to go to the court on the 27th of February but did not do so. One of the reasons why I did not attend was I was aware that the Minister of Defence (Thabane) had issued an order dissolving the court.

“I happened to see the dissolution order and also established that the same order was served to the office of the commander (Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli). Nevertheless, the court convened and only my lawyer was present on my behalf.

“In the evening of that day, I received the court martial order stating that I should appear before it on the 4th and 7th of March. I went to court on the 4th, but when the day’s

proceedings were supposed to start, the president of the court announced that due to reasons beyond his control, the case would not go ahead. He ordered the court to reconvene on Friday,” Mahao said.
The brigadier further said he was prepared to stand trial to finality, but insisted the rule of law should prevail.
“My position is that I am ready to proceed with the case. But I must emphasise that this country is under the rule of law. The army, as well, has its controlling authority, which it must also obey,” he added.
There was no immediate comment from the army and the Prime Minister’s office regarding the issue.

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