Moramotse charged with breaching Covid-19 regulations

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Mohalenyane Phakela

POLICE and Public Safety minister Lehlohonolo Moramotse was on Tuesday charged with contravening Covid-19 Regulations. This after he allegedly bought alcohol in contravention of gazetted regulations forbidding such purchases during the ongoing national lockdown.

Mr Moramotse arrived at Maseru Magistrate Court in his official vehicle and bodyguards at around 9:30am. Although the courts are not allowing audiences in the gallery during court sessions as a precaution to stop the possible spread of the coronavirus, Mr Moramotse was in the company of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing Minister Chalane Phori.

Mr Moramotse’s two sons were also present.

The matter was held in chambers and according to prosecutor, Tsietsi Hlaele.  Maseru Senior Resident Magistrate, Peter Murenzi, subsequently released Mr Moramotse on M500 bail.

“The accused has been released on M500 bail,” Adv Hlaele said adding, “however, the hearing date will be set at a later date due to the national lockdown”.

According to the charge sheet, Mr Moramotse “is charged with contravening Regulations 3(5) and 3(7) and 6 read with Regulation 11 of the Public health Covid-19 Regulations No.28 of 2020”.

He is accused of illegally purchasing two boxes of assorted whiskeys at Borokhoaneng Urban Offsales in Maseru.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Paseka Mokete, said Mr Moramotse was detained at Police Headquarters on Monday but was released around 2am on Tuesday after Justice Semapo Peete issued a directive for his release.

“I called Mr Moramotse on Monday morning asking him to report (to the police) himself but told me that he had to attend to government business.

He eventually reported in the afternoon and had to spend the night because the police were still interrogating him. However, a court order from Justice Peete directed us to release him and that was around 2am,” DCP Mokete said.

If found guilty, Mr Moramotse could be fined M5000 or jailed for two months or both.

Mr Moramotse has been roundly criticised for his actions with the opposition demanding his sacking by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.

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