ARGUMENTS on whether former Natural Resources Minister, Monyane Moleleki’s corruption case should proceed or not would be made on Tuesday next week when the trial is set to start before the High Court.
This decision was made on Monday this week when state and defence lawyers met in Acting Chief Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi’s chambers to deliberate on the issue.
The court, on 15 July 2014, postponed the case to Friday last week for both lawyers to settle the outstanding preliminary preparations for the case.
The preparations included Mr Moleleki’s updated medical report, which has been the reason behind the numerous postponements of the case.
Another issue that was supposed to be settled was the defence lawyers’ complaint that the prosecution had not furnished them with all the relevant documents that would be used as evidence against Mr Moleleki and his co-accused.
The lawyers did not meet on Friday last week as scheduled and the matter was postponed to Monday this week.
According to the prosecutor of the case, Advocate Siphosihle Mdhluli, it was agreed in Justice Monaphathi’s chambers that whatever needs to be deliberated upon should be discussed on Tuesday next week when the trial is set to start.
“We have decided to meet on Tuesday next week and we will take it from there,” he said.
Two months ago, Acting Chief Justice Tšeliso Monapathi ago announced 26 August 2014 as the trial date after the case had been postponed on several occasions due to Mr Moleleki’s ill-health.
The former minister faces three counts of allegedly contravening the Mines and Minerals Act, alongside businessmen Mohapi Khofu, Tšepo Khofu, Kereke Moteletsane and Moeketsi Motšoane, who are all directors of Mafeteng-based firm, Refela Holdings.
According to the charges, the businessmen allegedly failed to comply with the said legislation between 1-29 May 2012, when acquiring licences to prospect for diamonds in Ha Ramatšeliso and Mosaqane in the Qacha’s Nek district.
Mr Moleleki, who was the minister of natural resources at the time the offense was allegedly committed, stands accused of abusing his office to facilitate the issuance of the said permits.
However, the case has failed to take-off in the High Court on a number of occasions due to Mr Moleleki’s poor health. Mr Moleleki, who is deputy leader of Lesotho’s main opposition political party, the Democratic Congress (DC), is said to suffer from cancer and his doctor has since indicated he is not fit to stand trial due to the advanced state of the illness.
Mr Moleleki’s lawyer, Advocate Salemane Phafane (King’s Counsel), on 15 July filed an updated report of his client’s medical condition before the High Court, which indicated he was scheduled to undergo further tests on 28 and 29 July.
But Advocate Mdhluli on Monday said everything regarding the case, including Mr Moleleki’s updated medical report, would be discussed in an open court on Tuesday next week.