THE High Court trial of three senior police officers and a businesswoman charged with bribery has been postponed to 16 – 18 August 2016.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Tumelo Moseme, Assistant Commissioner of Police Dlamini Mphatšoane and Thakane Theko are facing charges of bribery over a contract to supply police equipment worth M776 000.
The trio is jointly charged with businesswoman Rebecca Makhalemele whose companies — Linare Clothing and New Vision Suppliers — were the alleged conduits through which the crimes were committed between 2009 and 2011.
According to the main charge of bribery, the three officers allegedly accepted bribe payments in their capacities as Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) employees between June 2009 and 2011.
The payments, the charge sheet states, were allegedly meant to ensure the contract for the supply of camouflage uniforms, berets and combat jackets to the LMPS would be awarded to Ms Makhalemele’s businesses.
In the alternative charge to the main count, the three officers are charged with corruption for allegedly allowing themselves to be influenced by a gift or the prospect of benefiting by agreeing to award the contracts to Ms Makhalemele and her company.
Meanwhile, former Commissioner of Police Kizito Mhlakaza is also set to continue with his testimony when the trial resumes.
Mr Mhlakaza was senior to DCP Tumelo Moseme by virtue of being the acting commissioner of police at the time. In his testimony last week, Mr Mhlakaza said he was unaware of the signing of the contract for procuring the police equipment.
He said all such transactions were being handled by DCP Moseme. The former commissioner also accused DCP Moseme of defying a directive issued by the Minister of Home Affairs that the LMPS should not sign any contracts with any other institutions and leave that role to principal secretaries.
However, Mr Mhlakaza confirmed writing a letter of support for the procurement of the police gear after he was approached by DCP Moseme who had cited “problems” he was experiencing from the procurement office.
Advocates Motiea Tele (King’s Counsel), Qhalehang Letsika and Shale Shale are representing the accused.