Pros­e­cu­tor quits Moleleki trial in a huff

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Tefo Tefo

Ad­vo­cate Siphosihle Mdhluli yes­ter­day with­drew from pros­e­cut­ing a case in which the Min­is­ter of Po­lice, Monyane Moleleki, is fac­ing cor­rup­tion charges be­fore the High court.

Mr Moleleki is be­ing charged with con­tra­ven­ing pro­vi­sions of the coun­try’s min­ing reg­u­la­tions along­side Re­fela Hold­ings di­rec­tors Mo­hapi Khofu, tšepo Khofu, Kereke Motelet­sane and Moeketsi Motšoane.

the Re­fela bosses 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 the Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources at the time the of­fense was al­legedly com­mit­ted, stands ac­cused of abus­ing his of­fice to fa­cil­i­tate the per­mits.

How­ever, the case has failed to pro­ceed on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions, lead­ing to Ad­vo­cate Mdhluli’s frus­tra­tion.

the South African told se­nior High court judge, Jus­tice tšeliso Mon­aphathi, that he was with­draw­ing from the case “with a heavy heart” and had com­mu­ni­cated his de­ci­sion to the direc­tor of Public Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP), King’s coun­sel Leaba thet­sane.

“I am with­draw­ing from this case and I want ev­ery­thing I’m go­ing to say to be put on record be­cause it is not a se­cret.

“An agree­ment has been made be­tween me and the DPP that I should with­draw from the case. I think what I have to do now is make a proper han­dover to coun­sel that should take over from me.

“But as your Lord­ship can see, such coun­sel is not be­fore the court now,” said Ad­vo­cate Mdhluli, who is a for­mer DPP.

He con­tin­ued: “We were sup­posed to ap­pear be­fore this court yes­ter­day (tues­day) and set a date for the hear­ing.

“But I un­der­stand other peo­ple ap­peared be­fore you and set a date in Au­gust for men- tion.”

But be­fore Ad­vo­cate Mdhluli could pro­ceed, Jus­tice Mon­aphathi in­ter­jected and said the date was not set be­fore him but the Judges’ clerk.

How­ever, Ad­vo­cate Mdhluli said he still wanted it known that the de­ci­sion to post­pone the case to Au­gust had noth­ing to do with him.

“I wish to in­ti­mate fur­ther that as an of­fi­cer of this court, I was ready to pro­ceed with this case more than six months ago.

“on many, oc­ca­sions when the case was sup­posed to pro­ceed, the First Ac­cused (Mr Moleleki) was not feel­ing well and again, on an­other oc­ca­sion, the Sec­ond Ac­cused (Mo­hapi Khofu), was also ill,” he said.

“I would want to make this clear be­cause I have my in­tegrity to pro­tect. to me, it seems the man­ner in which this case has been dealt with is a fuzz; it’s a joke.

“Now all the ac­cused per­sons are not be­fore the court — some­thing which I’ve never expe- ri­enced for a long time I have prac­ticed (law) in this coun­try.

“I was the direc­tor of Public Pros­e­cu­tions here for about 12 years, but I never saw such a thing whereby even coun­sel are all not be­fore the court.

“My Lord, I’ve done my level best to en­sure that the case pro­ceeds; I am in no way to blame.

“I can see the di­rec­tion this case is tak­ing and I don’t want to be caught in the mid­dle. What­ever hap­pens af­ter now, I’m not part of it.

“there has been great re­sis­tance from some quar­ters that this case doesn’t pro­ceed. even now, I can smell some­thing sin­is­ter. I smell a rat,” Ad­vo­cate Mdhluli sub­mit­ted.

Ac­cept­ing Ad­vo­cate Mdhluli’s with­drawal from the case, Jus­tice Mon­aphathi could only say: “I ac­cept that you with­draw from the case, but his­tory will be the best judge.”

the judge then post­poned the case to 11 Au­gust for the trial date to be set.

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