THE Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) is planning to charge Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing and several other high-ranking LDF, LMPS and government officials with high treason and murder, over last month’s attempted coup, the Lesotho Times has established.
Communications, Science and Technology Minister Selibe Mochoboroane, Deputy Police Commissioner Keketso Monaheng (who is on forced leave), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) stalwart Mpho Malie, former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Molobeli Soulo and head of the LMPS Special Operations Unit, Assistant Commissioner Mahapela Loke, are some of the “dozens” of prominent personalities the sources said would also be charged.
Police sources told the Lesotho Times that the LMPS had already accumulated enough evidence to charge Lt Kamoli whom Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has already cited as a central player in the attempted putsch, in which one policeman was killed.
Two dockets, CIR/778/2014 for murder and CIR/779/2014 for high treason, have already been opened, but it is not yet clear when the LMPS would raise the charges against the targeted individuals.
The sources said this could be done as soon as Dr Thabane has regained full control of the LDF, once the issue of its command has been resolved.
Dr Thabane, who fled the country for South Africa on the eve of the LDF assault, has since described the attacks as an attempted coup, and, in addition to Lt Gen Kamoli, also accuses Mr Metsing of being behind the attacks. Both men deny Dr Thabane’s accusations.
In his defence, Lt Gen Kamoli said the raid was meant to confiscate firearms the police intended to give All Basotho Convention (ABC) youths to confront protesters during an LCD-organised march to put pressure on Dr Thabane to lift the nine-month suspension of parliament he had imposed on 10 June this year.
“Two dockets have already been opened at the Maseru Central Police Station regarding the army’s attack of Police Headquarters, Ha Mabote Police Station and Maseru Central Charge Office on the morning of 30 August 2014, which, among others, resulted in the death of Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko.
“The first docket, that of murder, is number CIR/778/2014, while the second one, of high treason, is CIR/779/2014,” said one of the sources, who requested anonymity.
“Kamoli is the first suspect in both cases, while the others are accomplices. There are many other members of the LDF who are being charged alongside these public officials, while it is highly likely that some more government officials, including ministers, will also face similar charges.”
According to the sources, investigations had revealed “suspicious communication” on the eve of the attacks, hence the opening of the two dockets.
“The information that the police have gathered so far, comprises shocking details of what was discussed by certain parties on the eve of the attacks. This information matches what happened the following day at the three police stations, and it is now a matter of time before charges are officially laid on the people concerned.
“This is a very serious case that is being handled with utmost secrecy, and by very senior members of the LMPS,” added another source.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Police Spokesperson, Lebona Mohloboli told the Lesotho Times: “My office has not been made aware of any treason case the police are investigating. What I can only confirm is that a murder investigation has been opened regarding the unfortunate events of 30 August.”
Asked about details of the murder case, Senior Inspector Mohloboli said: “We cannot reveal any details of the case at the moment, but as soon as the country’s current political situation stabilises, justice will take its course.”