Kamoli main­tains he was never fired

Lesotho Times - - News - Keiso Mohloboli

LE­SOTHO Defence Force (LDF) Com­man­der Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli was back be­fore the SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry on Mon­day where he main­tained he never saw his dis­missal let­ter hence his re­fusal to va­cate the post.

Lt-gen Kamoli was mak­ing his sec­ond ap­pear­ance be­fore the 10-mem­ber com­mis­sion led by Jus­tice Mpa­phi Phumaphi af­ter his ini­tial tes­ti­mony of 11 Septem­ber.

The com­mis­sion is prob­ing cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the death of former LDF com­man­der, Maa­parankoe Ma­hao, at the hands of his mil­i­tary col­leagues.

Lt-gen Ma­hao died on 25 June this year out­side his Mokema farm, with the LDF claim­ing he was re­sist­ing ar­rest for al­leged mutiny when he was fa­tally shot.

Re­spond­ing to his lawyer, King’s Coun­sel (KC) Sale­mane Phafane, the LDF com­man­der said he was never fired, while he re­fused to an­swer some of the ques­tions, in­sist­ing they were not among the com­mis­sion’s terms of ref­er­ence.

Lt-gen Kamoli said: “I can­not say the gov­ern­ment sec­re­tary did not fax the let­ter or email it to me but since this new IT does not delete in­for­ma­tion that eas­ily, I think I could have at least seen the let­ter in my email mes­sages, if in­deed it was sent to me.

“…I ob­served that in my sum­mons, there was an at­tach­ment which was al­leged to be my dis­missal let­ter dated 28 Au­gust 2015. This let­ter em­anated from the of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter and was ad­dressed to the pres­i­dent (of the Court Mar­tial), Ma­jorGen­eral Poopa which I am not. The let­ter read and I quote: ‘ Please be ad­vised that pur­suant to Sec­tion 100 (1) of the LDF Act of 1996, the Court Mar­tial con­sti­tuted to hear and de­ter­mine the case against Bri­gadier Maa­parankoe Ma­hao is hereby dis­solved. Signed by Dr Mot­soa­hae Thomas Tha­bane, Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter of Defence and Na­tional Se­cu­rity and copied to Bri­gadier Maa­parankoe Ma­hao.

“I told this com­mis­sion be­fore and I am say­ing this again that I never re­ceived any let­ter of dis­missal what­so­ever.”

Adv Phafane then asked of a 26 Au­gust 2014 meet­ing Lt-gen Kamoli held with Dr Tha­bane “where you were in­formed of your dis­missal and were seen walk­ing out fum­ing, con­trary to the ev­i­dence that you gave to the com­mis­sion that you were never in­formed of your dis­missal”.

In re­sponse, Lt-gen Kamoli said noth­ing of the sort hap­pened on the day in ques­tion.

“My Lord, there was a meet­ing at State House on 26 Au­gust 2014 be­tween former Prime Min­is­ter Dr Mot­soa­hae Thomas Tha­bane, former Min­is­ter of Gen­der Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane, the then Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Khothatso Tšooana and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ser­vice Di­rec­tor-gen­eral Ntate Lerotholi,” Lt-gen Kamoli told the com­mis­sion.

“The is­sue of my dis­missal did not arise in that meet­ing, not even a hint of it. When I went in, Ntate Tha­bane said to me: ‘Com­man­der, I have called this meet­ing be­cause we are from Vic­to­ria Falls where we failed to get the chair­man­ship of the SADC Or­gan on Pol­i­tics, Defence and Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion due to po­lit­i­cal prob­lems that we have in this coun­try. So I called this meet­ing for us to find out what went wrong. He then said Ntate ‘Maserib­ane should con­tinue with the meet­ing.

“Chief ‘Maserib­ane then said as you have heard, it is true that we are from Vic­to­ria Falls where we failed to at­tain the chair­man­ship. He then in­formed us that be­fore we ar­rived at the meet­ing, the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter (Mo­thetjoa Metsing) was there but he had just left.

“He fur­ther said the DPM gave them (his coali­tion gov­ern­ment part­ners Chief ‘Maserib­ane and Dr Tha­bane) an ultimatum that if they didn’t drop his cor­rup­tion case by Fri­day, he was with­draw­ing from the coali­tion be­cause he had the sup­port of the army and that he would not be ar­rested.

“It must be noted that the meet­ing was on a Tues­day. Af­ter say­ing that, Com­mis­sioner Tšooana con­firmed that the sol­diers were sup­port­ing Ntate Metsing.

“Ntate ‘ Maserib­ane also said the army’s sup­port of Ntate Metsing was mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for gov­ern­ment to func­tion.

“The prime min­is­ter asked me to say some­thing and I re­minded him that I once ad­vised him to en­gage Ntate Metsing on the is­sue for the sake of their coali­tion. I also told him it would be ap­pro­pri­ate for the se­cu­rity chiefs to meet all the coali­tion lead­ers at the same time. I again said it would not be a prob­lem to meet the prime min­is­ter alone since he was the head of the se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tions we were head­ing.

“In ad­di­tion, I also said since this was a very se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tion against Mr Metsing, I would re­quest with all hu­mil­ity that he be called to the meet­ing so we could hear his side of the story. Mr Lerotholi echoed the same sen­ti­ments, but in re­sponse, Ntate ‘Maserib­ane be­came an­gry and we dis­persed. I was never called to an­other meet­ing on 29 Au­gust 2014 and was not told about any dis­missal.”

Adv Phafane asked Lt-gen Kamoli about al­le­ga­tions that he re­fused to avail LDF mem­bers wanted by the po­lice for ques­tion­ing.

In re­sponse, Lt-gen Kamoli said he did not un­der­stand the ques­tion, prompt­ing Jus­tice Phumaphi to ex­plain.

“Ev­i­dence be­fore this com­mis­sion is that let­ters the po­lice wrote to the army com­mand for the re­lease of sus­pects who had al­legedly com­mit­ted crimes, were not re­sponded to,” Jus­tice Phumaphi ex­plained.

How­ever, Lt-gen Kamoli said the case in point hap­pened be­fore he was ap­pointed LDF com­man­der, and so he could not be held re­spon­si­ble.

“I won’t ad­dress the is­sue be­cause CIR 673\01\12 (case num­ber) hap­pened be­fore I be­came com­man­der of the LDF and it is no longer be­fore the courts of law.

“Again, I won’t deal with the is­sue be­cause noth­ing of this na­ture ap­pears in the com­mis­sion’s terms of ref­er­ence,” Lt-gen Kamoli retorted.

Adv Phafane also asked Lt-gen Kamoli about an or­der he al­legedly gave prior to the LDF takeover of three Maseru po­lice sta­tions on the morn­ing of 30 Au­gust 2014. Dr Tha­bane later called the army ma­noeu­vres a coup at­tempt led by Lt-gen Kamoli.

“Is it true that in Au­gust 2014, prior to the LDF at­tacks of Maseru po­lice sta­tions, you or­dered State House se­cu­rity to de­tain t Dr Tha­bane, Chief ‘Maserib­ane, Mr Metsing and Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Tšooana un­til you ar­rived?” Ad­vo­cate Phafane asked.

How­ever, Lt-gen Kamoli said he was not go­ing to re­spond be­cause the is­sue was also not part of the com­mis­sion’s man­date.

“Re­gard­ing this is­sue, just like the oth­ers, I re­quest the honourable com­mis­sion to ex­cuse me from say­ing any­thing be­cause it doesn’t ap­pear in the terms of ref­er­ence,” LtGen Kamoli said.

“It is not that I don’t have any­thing to say about the is­sue, but the mat­ter was re­moved from the terms of ref­er­ence. I am a very obe­di­ent soldier who wouldn’t want to ap­pear to be go­ing against those in author­ity.”

Lt-gen Kamoli then asked Jus­tice Phumaphi if the peo­ple who made such al­le­ga­tions against him were present be­cause he wanted to cross-ex­am­ine them.

In re­sponse, Jus­tice Phumaphi asked the com­mis­sion to re­tire be­cause Lt-gen Kamoli’s re­quest had come “un­ex­pect­edly”.

I can­not say the gov­ern­ment sec­re­tary did not fax the let­ter or email it to me but since this new IT does not delete in­for­ma­tion that eas­ily, I think I could have at least seen the let­ter in my email mes­sages, if in­deed it was sent to me

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