MASERU – A former army officer is suing a local television cameraman for M2 million for implicating him in the murder of the prime minister’s son nine years ago.
Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s son, Maile, was gunned down in Maseru in yet unclear circumstances in 2002.
Mole Khumalo, a former army officer who is now a practising lawyer, yesterday filed the defamation suit against Habofanoe Ntsie.
Ntsie also alleged that Khumalo and other senior officials subsequently attacked State House, ostensibly to conceal evidence of the crime.
Maile’s murder remains unresolved nine years after the crime was committed.
The defamation suit arises from claims by Ntsie that Khumalo, former home affairs minister Thomas Motsoahae Thabane, who is now leader of the main opposition All Basotho Convention party, former Lesotho Defence Forces (LDF) commander Lieutenant General Makhula Mosakeng and former Assistant Commissioner of Police Motlepu Makhakhe conspired to kill him to stop his investigations into Maile’s murder.
Ntsie made the allegations at Ha Ratjomose Barracks on October 31, 2008 when Khumalo was still a soldier.
The allegations went on to form the basis of an LDF inquiry.
Ntsie subsequently repeated the allegations in a court case in which he was being accused of killing two of his neighbours in 2004, according to Khumalo’s papers.
Describing his actions as self-defence, Ntsie claimed he killed his neighbours, Habaka Mahao and Souru Masupha because the duo had been sent by Khumalo and other high ranking officials to eliminate him to stop his investigations into Maile’s murder.
In papers filed at the High Court in Maseru yesterday, Khumalo said Ntsie’s allegations
were without basis and were meant to harm his reputation.
Ntsie has seven days from yesterday to respond to the suit.
“The defendant (Ntsie) was alleging that the plaintiff (Khumalo) obstructs him in his duty of taking videos with his camera. It was during the deliberations on this alleged obstruction at the military offices at Ha Ratjomose Barracks that the defendant stated to the people who were present (LDF officers) that the plaintiff killed the son of the Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, namely, Maile Mosisili,” Khumalo states in his papers.
Khumalo says that on or about August 25, 2009 “a commission of inquiry was set up at Ha Ratjomose Barracks, whose purpose was to investigate the allegations by the defendant to the effect that some LDF officers had said that the defendant and Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili have (sic) killed the son of the Prime Minister”.
According to the court papers, it was during these deliberations that Ntsie stated that Khumalo, Thabane, Mosakeng, Makhakhe, and Major Mosakeng “inspired (sic) to kill the defendant because he was investigating the death of the Prime Minister’s son”.
“The defendant went further to state that the plaintiff had confided to him that the plaintiff had killed the son of the Prime Minister.
“The defendant further stated that the former Commander Lt General Mosakeng and Mr Thomas Motsoahae Thabane had actually hired or required the services of the plaintiff to kill the son of the Prime Minister, Maile Mosisili,” Khumalo states in his court papers.
“The defendant further stated that the plaintiff had on several occasions slept with one Lineo Sello, who was the crown witness in the Maile Mosisili murder trial and alleged to have been a prostitute around the time of the murder,” Khumalo states.
Khumalo claims further that the “defendant stated that the plaintiff took part in the mission in which some members of the LDF were disarmed in 2007, and this was done with the intention to overthrow the legitimate government of Lesotho”.
According to Khumalo, the commission held at Ha Ratjomose produced a report on its inquiries and this report had become a public document.
He contends that different people had copies of this report, which contains the defamatory statements.
He said these statements by the defendant were understood by the addressees on different occasions to mean that Khumalo was a murderer, a criminal, a person of low morals who slept with prostitutes, that the plaintiff was guilty of criminal conduct in that he had participated in or associated himself with criminal activities.
Khumalo wants the court to award him damages with interest at the rate of 18.5 percent from the date of issue of summons and costs of the lawsuit.