Why Moleleki trial has stalled  

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Police Minister Deputy Monyane Moleleki
Police Minister Deputy Monyane Moleleki

Lekhetho Ntsukunyane

A prosecutor in the corruption trial of Police Minister Monyane Moleleki and four Mafeteng mining executives says he has failed to secure the case’s docket from the police since his appointment three months ago.

Advocate Abraham Lenono was allocated the case in May by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) King’s Counsel (KC) Leaba Thetsane.

He replaced Advocate Siphosihle Mdhluli who had handled the case since it was first brought before the High Court in 2013. However, the case has been postponed on numerous occasions due to the respondents’ illness, particularly Mr Moleleki.

The case was postponed again last week to 27 November 2015 by Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi following discussions with crown and defence counsel in closed chambers.

Mr Moleleki, who is also deputy leader of the Democratic Congress, is charged alongside Refela Holdings directors Mohapi Khofu, Tšepo Khofu, Kereke Moteletsane and Moeketsi Motšoane. The five are accused of contravening the country’s mining regulations in 2012.

According to the charges, the Refela executives allegedly failed to comply with the Mines and Minerals Act between 1-29 May 2012 when acquiring licences to prospect for diamonds in Ha Ramatšeliso and Mosaqane in the Qacha’s Nek district.

Mr Moleleki, who was Natural Resources minister at the time the offense was allegedly committed, is accused of abusing his office to facilitate the issuance of the said licences.

However, in an interview with the Lesotho Times on Monday this week, Advocate Lenono said one of the main reasons why the case had to be postponed last week was because he had not been furnished with the police docket from which he should familiarise himself with the case.

“The truth of the matter is I have not received the police docket from which I would be able to familiarise myself with the matter. There had been so much drama each time I tried to get the docket from the chief investigator.

“The officer tried to get it for me from his superiors but failed. Apparently, he was harassed by his bosses when he requested the docket, yet under normal circumstances, he was supposed to have it as the chief investigator. He has since been transferred after requesting the docket, so I heard”.

Advocate Lenono said he had met with Advocate Thetsane (KC) to report his predicament.

“I am not a member of the Law Office but a defence lawyer appointed by the DPP to prosecute this case. So when I have a problem like this where I don’t have the docket, I report the matter to him. He promised to call me once he had secured the docket for me, but up to now, he hasn’t called,” said Advocate Lenono.

Asked what he suspected was going on with the docket, Advocate Lenono laughed and said: “I really cannot say…your guess is as good as mine.”

Contacted on the issue this week, Advocate Thetsane (KC) said: “I cannot talk to you about court cases. I have told you before to go to the courts if you want news. The same way judges cannot be interviewed on court matters  also applies to my office.”

Meanwhile, the Lesotho Times has since established the chief investigator, Senior Inspector Sera Cedric Makharilele, was transferred from Police Headquarters’ Commercial Crime Counter Unit to Maseru Urban Beat Patrol Unit on 6 August 2015—the same day he had earlier requested the docket from his “bosses”. The Lesotho Times could not immediately established the names of the “bosses” in question.

Sen Insp Makharilele on Monday confirmed his transfer in an interview with the Lesotho Times, adding the decision was taken the same day he had asked for the docket.

The officer said he could not comment any further, and referred the Lesotho Times to police spokesperson Clifford Molefe, who however, said transfers were the prerogative of the police commissioner and could not be questioned.

“A transfer cannot be questioned as the powers to redeploy any police officer are vested with the Commissioner in line with Section Four of the Police Act of 1998. “The Commissioner can exercise those powers anytime he deems fit,” Senior Inspector Molefe said

Asked about the docket, Sen Insp Molefe said he would inquire about it and call this reporter once he had the details. He had not done so by the time of going to press last night.

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