Metsing to learn fate

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

A lawyer rep­re­sent­ing Deputy Prime Min­is­ter (DPM) Mo­thetjoa Metsing on Mon­day urged the Court of Ap­peal to de­clare his client did not break any law when he re­fused to ap­pear be­fore the Direc­torate on Cor­rup­tion and eco­nomic Of­fences (DCEO) early this year.

King’s Coun­sel (KC) Motiea Teele was ad­dress­ing the apex court in a case in which the deputy pre­mier wants to block the DCEO’S in­ves­ti­ga­tions into his bank­ing de­tails.

The Con­sti­tu­tional Court on 25 Fe­bru­ary this year ruled against Mr Metsing in his bid to have the in­ves­ti­ga­tion de­clared il­le­gal, prompt­ing him to ap­proach the Court of Ap­peal.

In ad­di­tion to chal­leng­ing the le­git­i­macy of the probe, Mr Metsing says the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is mo­ti­vated by “an ul­te­rior” mo­tive be­cause at some stage, some of the charges were with­drawn.

The DPM also chal­lenged the DCEO’S use of a “wrong sec­tion” of the Preven­tion of Cor­rup­tion and eco­nomic Of­fences Act of 1999 in its in­ves­ti­ga­tion and sum­mon.

“The test here is whether the ap­pel­lant (Mr Metsing) was a sus­pect or not at the time he was called by the re­spon­dents for an in­ter­view,” Ad­vo­cate Teele told the court.

“we sub­mit he was a sus­pect and as such, the rel­e­vant sec­tion to be used is sec­tion eight of the Preven­tion of Cor­rup­tion and eco­nomic Of­fences Act of 1999.

“This par­tic­u­lar sec­tion al­lows a sus­pect to refuse to ap­pear be­fore the DCEO to an­swer ques­tions that might in­crim­i­nate him.

“The re­spon­dents did not say if he was a sus­pect or not, so the ap­pel­lant could not just go and in­crim­i­nate him­self.

“The ap­pel­lants only used sec­tion seven of the Act know­ing that un­der that sec­tion, a per­son has no other al­ter­na­tive but to go and an­swer their ques­tions.”

But un­der sec­tion eight of the same Act, Ad­vo­cate Teele said some­one sus­pected of an of­fence can refuse to ap­pear be­fore the direc­torate “if he has a rea­son­able ex­cuse”.

“Al­though the re­spon­dents (DCEO Di­rec­tor-gen­eral and the DCEO) don’t want to ad­mit that they treated the ap­pel­lant as a sus­pect, it is clear from their pa­pers that they re­garded him as such.

“This is ev­i­dent from their pa­pers where they said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing a case in which it was al­leged he re­ceived bribes from a com­pany called Big Bravo and that he com­mit­ted cor­rup­tion by us­ing the pow­ers of his of­fice to en­sure that a ten­der for the con­struc­tion of le­qele and Matala roads was awarded to Big Bravo.

“The key words here are bribery and cor­rup­tion.

“Clearly, from their pa­pers, the ap­pel­lant was treated as a sus­pect.

“They only wanted to use sec­tion seven so that he would be bound to go and in­crim­i­nate him­self,” he said.

How­ever, the DCEO’S lawyer, Ad­vo­cate roland Suhr told the court it was “un­ten­able” for the or­gan­i­sa­tion to ask for Mr Metsing’s per­mis­sion to in­ves­ti­gate him.

But af­ter be­ing pressed by the judges, Ad­vo­cate Suhr con­ceded Mr Metsing was a sus­pect.

The court is ex­pected to de­liver judg­ment on 6 Novem­ber 2015.

The case was be­fore act­ing judges Fred­erik Daniel Ja­cobus Brand, Moses Hungwe Chin­hengo, Phillip Mu­sonda, yvonne Mok­goro and robert Nu­gent.

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