Ex­iles ss­lam ‘bi­ased­bi­ased’ DPP

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Billy Ntaote

All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC), Ba­sotho Na­tional Party and Re­formed Congress of le­sotho mem­bers liv­ing in ex­ile in South Africa want Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP) le­aba Thet­sane, off SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry cases be­cause of his al­leged bias.

The ex­iles are now ask­ing Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili to ap­proach the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) for prose­cu­tors who would re­place King’s Coun­sel Thet­sane should such cases arise.

A spokesper­son for the group, Thabo Thakalekoala, yes­ter­day said Ad­vo­cate Thet­sane could not be trusted to han­dle such cases be­cause of his al­leged links “to a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est group”.

The SADC in­quiry headed by Jus­tice Mpa­phi Phumaphi of Botswana was es­tab­lished to in­ves­ti­gate cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the killing of former le­sotho Defence Force (LDF) com­man­der, Maa­parankoe Ma­hao, on 25 June this year. lieu­tenant-gen­eral Ma­hao was shot by his mil­i­tary col­leagues, al­legedly while re­sist­ing ar­rest for sus­pected mutiny.

Jus­tice Phumaphi and his team com­pleted their in­ves­ti­ga­tions on 21 Oc­to­ber and are com­pil­ing their find­ings in Bloem­fontein, South Africa, for sub­mis­sion to the re­gional bloc. Jus­tice Phumaphi is also ex­pected to rec­om­mend the course of ac­tion the le­sotho gov­ern­ment should take re­gard­ing his find­ings.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to a press state­ment re­leased yes­ter­day by Mr Thakalekoala, SADC should in­ter­vene once again to en­sure Jus­tice Phumaphi’s rec­om­men­da­tions are car­ried out with­out any prej­u­dice.

Mr Thakalekoala, who is also the spokesper­son of ex­iled former prime min­is­ter and ABC leader Thomas Tha­bane, says the ex­iles “have lost all con­fi­dence and trust” in Ad­vo­cate Thet­sane. As a re­sult, Mr Thakalekoala says the ex­iles are re­quest­ing the DPP should not be al­lowed “to draw up charges and pros­e­cute cases aris­ing out of the Com­mis­sion’s find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions”.

Ad­vo­cate Thet­sane, he fur­ther charges, had “proved be­yond rea­son­able doubt that he is work­ing for a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est group and can­not be trusted with ex­e­cut­ing the man­date of his high of­fice pro­fes­sion­ally”

Mr Thakalekoala fur­ther al­leges Ad­vo­cate Thet­sane had be­come “an ob­struc­tion in the ad­min­is­tra­tion and dis­pen­sa­tion of jus­tice in the King­dom of le­sotho”, hence the ex- iles’ loss of con­fi­dence in him.

Mr Thakalekoala fur­ther notes in the state­ment: “The Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions was es­tab­lished un­der Sec­tion 141 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of le­sotho. It is the ex­pec­ta­tion of the en­tire Ba­sotho na­tion that the Of­fice rep­re­sents their in­ter­ests, in­clud­ing their val­ued rights and free­doms in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.

“The DPP also has a duty to act in a way that strikes a fair bal­ance be­tween the com­pet­ing in­ter­ests of prose­cut­ing to fi­nal­ity and en­sur­ing con­vic­tion, pro­tect­ing the rights of cit­i­zens and their free­doms and pro­tect­ing the pub­lic from crim­i­nals.

“In short, we ex­pect the DPP to pro­mote the ef­fec­tive, fair, im­par­tial and ef­fi­cient pros­e­cu­tion of crim­i­nal of­fences, and to pro­mote high stan­dards and prin­ci­ples in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of crim­i­nal jus­tice, in­clud­ing pro­ce­dures to guard against or ad­dress mis­car­riages, in sup­port of the rule of law.

“This of­fice should not be seen to be rep­re­sent­ing any spe­cial in­ter­est group, but ex­e­cut­ing its man­date in the in­ter­est of all.

“The DPP should not di­rect the ac­tions of the courts, and when ap­pear­ing be­fore a court to present a case, he should not en­joy a greater right to be heard, no greater right to present a case and no greater ac­cess to the judge than the de­fen­dant.

“In the King­dom of le­sotho, we see the op­po­site hap­pen­ing; we see the DPP di­rectly go­ing against the man­date of his of­fice, and the very prin­ci­ples that he is ex­pected to up­hold and pro­tect.

“He has, for all in­tents and pur­poses, al­lowed him­self to be used as a ‘le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive’ of a spe­cial in­ter­est group. The spe­cial in­ter- est group we are re­fer­ring to is the cur­rent gov­ern­ment and cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als within this gov­ern­ment, and po­lit­i­cal par­ties that form part of this gov­ern­ment such as the le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD), Demo­cratic Congress (DC) and the le­sotho Defence Force.

“We see Mr Thet­sane ac­tively tak­ing part in party pol­i­tics to pro­tect cer­tain peo­ple in gov­ern­ment, cer­tain mem­bers of po­lit­i­cal par­ties that are part of gov­ern­ment and in­deed cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als within the mil­i­tary sus­pected of var­i­ous crimes, from fac­ing pros­e­cu­tion in the courts of law.”

Mr Thakalekoala lists sev­eral cases which he says show Ad­vo­cate Thet­sane’s al­leged bias.

“The fol­low­ing cases prove our point that Mr Thet­sane has be­come an ob­struc­tion in the ad­min­is­tra­tion and dis­pen­sa­tion of crim­i­nal jus­tice in le­sotho: REX (the State) VS MOTHEJOA METSING & 6 ORS (Fraud, Theft And/ Or Mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of funds)-Maseru CIR 310/06/14; REX VS PONTSO MATUMELO SEKATLE (C/S 90 (1) OF RTA NO 8/81)-Maseru R/T/O-249/02/07; REX VS SELIBE MOCHOBOROANE (C/S 79 (1) & (2) OF THE PE­NAL CODE NO 6/2010, al­ter­na­tively C/S 76 (2) (b) R/W SUB-SEC­TIONS (1) & (5) OF THE PE­NAL CODE; REX VS MOTLATSI MA­JARA & 5 ORS (per­jury) - Maseru CIR1652/09/13; REX VS BOKANG RAMATSELla (Sedi­tion)-maseru PHQ RCI 748/08/14; REX VS THUSO LITJOB0.

“The above list of cases is not ex­haus­tive. We are still mak­ing our in­ves­ti­ga­tions as to how many cases have suf­fered the same fate,” Mr Thakalekoala adds.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Thakalekoala, the ex­iles had since been in­formed by their sources that LDF Com­man­der lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli would al­legedly soon be dragged be­fore the courts “to frus­trate the ef­forts of the SADC Com­mis­sion”.

The state­ment con­tin­ues: “Whereas a lot has been said by the cur­rent gov­ern­ment about the con­fu­sion and dis­tor­tion of facts caused by so­cial me­dia, one can­not turn a blind eye on a re­cent so­cial me­dia post con­cern­ing the man­ner in which the DPP in­tends to treat lt-gen Kamoli’s case once it reaches his of­fice and the court of law.

“This will be done to frus­trate the ef­forts of the SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry in the event lt-gen Kamoli and other mem­bers of the le­sotho Defence Force are im­pli­cated in the bru­tal killing of former LDF com­man­der, lt-gen Maa­parankoe Ma­hao.

“In sup­port of the above, we have in­tel­li­gence from the LDF Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence (MI) that there is a plan that lt-gen Kamoli will be charged and brought be­fore the courts of law, and by de­sign, he will ten­der a plea of not guilty.

“Dur­ing this time, the DPP will frus­trate the case to the ex­tent that lt-gen Kamoli would not be con­nected to the crimes and con­se­quently, he will be dis­charged or ac­quit­ted.

“We have a rea­son­able fear that if, by any chance, lt-gen Kamoli is im­pli­cated by the find­ings of the Com­mis­sion and a rec­om­men­da­tion is made that he be pros­e­cuted, he would al­ready have been ex­on­er­ated by the courts of le­sotho.

“And as such, the whole ex­er­cise by the Com­mis­sion would have been fu­tile since the law is very clear on the prin­ci­ple of dou­ble jeop­ardy which sim­ply means a per­son can­not be pros­e­cuted more than once on the same mat­ter, which has been pre­vi­ously de­cided upon by the courts of law.”

Mr Thakalekoala also ques­tions “the in­tegrity and in­de­pen­dence” of the of­fice of the DPP and the coun­try’s ju­di­ciary.

“We should, as a na­tion, have full con­fi­dence and trust in our ju­di­cial sys­tem as the fore­most guardian and pro­tec­tor of our ba­sic lib­er­ties and free­doms. But we can­not re­alise and achieve this as long as our pro­tec­tor-the DPP- acts in con­nivance with the forces of dark­ness and evil that want to de­rail our jus­tice sys­tem,” Mr Thakalekoala fur­ther al­leges.

“This can­cer,” Mr Thakalekoala con­tin­ues, “which has af­fected the ad­min­is­tra­tion and dis­pen­sa­tion of jus­tice in our beloved King­dom, can be cured and redeemed by gov­ern­ment. While we do com­mend the prime min­is­ter’s ini­tia­tive to seek as­sis­tance from SADC to in­ves­ti­gate the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing lt-gen Ma­hao’s death, we im­plore him to ap­proach SADC once again, to as­sem­ble and send a team of le­gal ex­perts/ prose­cu­tors to as­sist in the pros­e­cu­tion and ad­ju­di­ca­tion of cases that are di­rectly re­lated to the find­ings of the SADC In­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sion of In­quiry.

“We strongly want to be­lieve that Prime Min­is­ter Mo­sisili ap­proached SADC to send the Com­mis­sion to le­sotho be­cause he wanted to get to the root of the prob­lem and cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing lt-gen Ma­hao’s death. In the same man­ner, we strongly want to be­lieve the prime min­is­ter also wants to see cases of those re­spon­si­ble for lt-gen Ma­hao’s death be­ing dealt with in an im­par­tial, un­bi­ased and pro­fes­sional way be­fore the courts of law.

“It is our hope and ex­pec­ta­tion that Prime Min­is­ter Mo­sisili will con­tinue to co­op­er­ate and will also ad­here to and abide by what­ever rec­om­men­da­tions that will be made by the SADC Com­mis­sion.

“For rea­sons that we have ad­vanced above, we want to state in no un­cer­tain terms that we have lost all con­fi­dence and trust in the in­cum­bent Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions, Mr le­aba Thet­sane.”

Con­tacted for com­ment yes­ter­day, Ad­vo­cate Thet­sane said he was not in­ter­ested in what the ex­iles had to say.

“They can say any­thing they want and they should con­tinue say­ing what they want; I re­ally don’t care,” said Ad­vo­cate Thet­sane.

Thabo Thakalekoala

DPP Le­aba Thet­sane

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