… but a defiant Mofomobe refuses to release his phones
…vows to challenge warrant in the courts
Members of the National Security Service (NSS) descended on the Ha-Thetsane residence of Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, on the instruction of Prime Minister Sam Matekane to confiscate the firebrand opposition leader’s mobile phones “to extract information for investigations”.
But a defiant Mofomobe refused to give up his phones, saying the Prime Minister had no authority to issue any order for the seizure of his property.
The NSS officers descended on Mr Mofomobe with a warrant titled- WARRANT ISSUED IN TERMS OF SECTION 26 OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY SERVICE ACT NO.11 OF 1998.
“This warrant serves to authorize members of the National Security Service to; 1. seize the mobile phones of, and/or those found in the possession of Machesetsa Mofomobe….with immediate effect and 2. Conduct an investigation on such mobile phones and make copies of any information contained therein which has a bearing on the functions of the Service 3. Retain possession of the said mobile phones for a period of 30 working days for the purpose of investigations…,” the warrant signed for the prime minister, in his capacity as the Minister of Defence, National Security and Environment, read.
A defiant and angry Mr Mofomobe told the Lesotho Times in a brief interview last night that the warrant was illegal and an abuse of power.
He said he had refused to release his phones to the unnamed spies “without a proper and official court order to that effect”. He said he would approach the courts today to nullify the prime minister’s warrant.
The BNP leader said he was infuriated by Mr Matekane’s decision to issue the warrant, as it disrupted his family time, adding he was disturbed because to his knowledge “I have not had a fallout with the prime minister that could lead to such a decision”.
“I don’t understand why they want my phones. But they will not take my phones. I would not allow that without a court order. I will approach the courts first thing tomorrow morning for relief. I will not say more,” Mr Mofomobe said.
The warrant dated 16 May 2023 was signed for the the prime minister by the minister in his office Limpho Tau.
Mr Tau acknowledged he had signed the warrant for the prime minister but said he was unaware what it was for.
“I don’t know what the warrant is for and why it was issued. I was only instructed to sign it. I guess it has to do with the operations of the NSS. I can’t say what it’s about because I don’t know,” Mr Tau told the Lesotho Times last night.
NSS spokesperson Limpho Gugushe acknowledged the warrant but said she could not say more.
“I can’t say more as we are in the early stages of our investigations,” Ms Gugushe said.
Official Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mathibeli Mokhothu, said it was unheard of for a politician to issue a warrant to confiscate another politician’s mobile phones “which are personal properties”.
Mr Mokhothu said he could not speak further on the matter as the opposition were yet to consult with their lawyers on a way forward.
“We will consult with our lawyers for interpretation because this is a first. It is unheard of for a politician to want to infringe on another politician’s privacy…,” Mr Mokhothu said.
Mpulule Political Summit (MPS) leader, Remaketse Sehlabaka, told the Lesotho Times that he felt disillusioned by Mr Matekane’s decision.
“This is unheard of. I’m so drained,” Mr Sehlabaka said.