MASERU — Mohau Thakaso’s bid to have People’s Choice FM (PC FM) radio station managing director and eight others charged with perjury failed when the Maseru Magistrate’s Court upheld objections by the accused.
Magistrate Ts’eliso Bale yesterday agreed with defence lawyer Zwelakhe Mda that Thakaso, who appeared in person, had not provided surety as required for individuals pursuing a private prosecution.
According to Bale, Thakaso was supposed to provide security so that the people he is prosecuting can recover their legal costs in case he loses the case.
Bale also ruled that summons issued by Thakaso were fundamentally defective in that he had used a charge sheet with the king’s name despite that he was not prosecuting on behalf of the crown but for his own self.
The court also upheld that the charge sheet was not signed by Thakaso to indicate that it was a private prosecution.
Thakaso was given permission by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Leaba Thetsane, to prosecute his own case against the PC FM managing director, Motlatsi Majara, station manager Kholu Qhobela, popular disc jockey Liteboho Nkuebe, and former newsreader and journalist Falla Lisanyane for perjury.
Other accused included the King’s Counsel Advocate Salemane Phafane and lawyer Thabo Mpaka whom Thakaso said had lied under oath.
The accused also included businessman Hubbard Monaheng and Wits University lecturer Thabo Mosala, who are both PC FM shareholders and directors.
The private prosecution came after Thetsane declined to prosecute on grounds that the accused had no case to answer.
Thakaso, however, insisted that there was a case to prosecute.
The certificate of private prosecution had confined Thakaso only to five people, namely Majara, Qhobela, Khauta Mpeqa, Nkuebe, and Monaheng.
But Thakaso added Phafane, Mpaka, Lisanyane and Mosala to the list of people he wanted to prosecute.
In other court papers Thakaso alleged that Majara and the company had elbowed him out of the company he founded and funded.
His case however collapsed before it could even start after preliminary points were raised.
“We have noticed in this case that no evidence of security was produced before court in accordance with the guidelines of the Court of Appeal,” Bale said.
Bale told Thakaso that when a person is a suspect it is necessary that investigations be done to avoid the prospect of making people undergo an unnecessary ordeal.
“Courts should not be used to hurt people, hence private prosecution or public prosecution should be armed to the teeth to proceed with their case,” he said.
“The private prosecutor has failed to match the challenge of the accused and hence the charges are dismissed,” the magistrate said.
The ruling which quashed the charges against the accused came after the court dismissed an application by Thakaso to have the case postponed.
At the start of the hearing Thakaso had demanded that Phafane and Mpaka should be in the dock instead of the bar where they were sitting.
Majara, Qhobela, Nkuebe and Khauta Mpeqa were sitting in the dock.
Thakaso said he came to court expecting that the perjury case would start but he was shocked when Mda started raising preliminary issues.
Thakaso also told the court that he saw Thetsane’s affidavit for the first time in court.
Mda argued that if the court agreed to a postponement it would be giving the case a validity which it did not have.
“The court has nothing to postpone since this is a nullity,” Mda said.
Thakaso was not immediately available for comment after the court quashed charges of perjury against the accused.
In his affidavit Thetsane said on February 11 last year he declined to prosecute Majara and four others on a charge of perjury.