Colonel faces ad­di­tional charges

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

COLONEL Naha Kolisang was slapped with three new charges yes­ter­day, spark­ing out­rage among lawyers rep­re­sent­ing him and 23 fel­low Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) of­fi­cers al­ready fac­ing mutiny charges be­fore the Court Mar­tial.

The colonel is now be­ing charged with “mak­ing false ac­cu­sa­tions and in­sub­or­di­na­tion against army com­man­der Lieu­tenan­tGen­eral Tlali Kamoli”, as well as “con­duct to the prej­u­dice of good or­der and mil­i­tary dis­ci­pline” in vi­o­la­tion of the LDF Act.

Ac­cord­ing to his charge sheet signed on 1 De­cem­ber by LDF Chief of Staff Ma­jor-gen­eral Li­neo Poopa, the colonel al­legedly made the false claims against Lt-gen Kamoli last month.

“On or about 15 Oc­to­ber 2015 at or around the Mil­i­tary De­ten­tion Cen­tre si­t­u­ated at Maseru Max­i­mum Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion in the district of Maseru, the ac­cused, be­ing sub­ject to the LDF Act, un­law­fully and in­ten­tion­ally made false ac­cu­sa­tions against the Com­man­der of the LDF by say­ing ‘Act­ing Ma­jor-gen­eral (Court Mar­tial Pres­i­dent Ma­jor-gen­eral Mo­jalefa Let­soela) has been ap­pointed by a vic­tim of mutiny to fur­ther his in­ter­ests’ which ac­cu­sa­tion he knows to be false,” reads the charge-sheet.

Colonel Kolisang is also charged for “in­ten­tion­ally us­ing in­sub­or­di­nate lan­guage to the Com­man­der of the LDF”.

On this charge, he is said to have “un­law­fully and in­ten­tion­ally con­ducted him­self in a man­ner which is to the prej­u­dice of good or­der and mil­i­tary dis­ci­pline by ly­ing in his writ­ten state­ment of ob­jec­tion to mem­bers of the Court Mar­tial where he said ‘ I was present with all mem­bers of the bench in that meet­ing’ (meet­ing of Gen­er­als and Se­nior Of­fi­cers) when he knows that he and all mem­bers of the Court Mar­tial, save for the Pres­i­dent, could not at­tend the meet­ing of the Gen­er­als, and that some of the mem­bers could not even at­tend a meet­ing of Se­nior Of­fi­cers”.

Colonel Kolisang is also ac­cused of “un­law­fully and in­ten­tion­ally con­duct­ing him­self in a man­ner which is to the prej­u­dice of good or­der and mil­i­tary dis­ci­pline in his writ­ten ob­jec­tion to mem­bers of the Court Mar­tial, where he re­ferred to the then Ma­jor Sechele as Cap­tain when he knew that he was act­ing in an ap­point­ment as Ma­jor”.

How­ever, the new charges met with pro- tests by lawyers rep­re­sent­ing the 23 mutiny sus­pects when they were brought to the at­ten­tion of the Court Mar­tial by Ad­vo­cate Kuili Nde­bele, who rep­re­sents Colonel Kolisang in the trial.

Ad­vo­cate Nde­bele then told Ma­jor-gen­eral Let­soela he should re­cuse him­self from the trial as he was an in­ter­ested party.

Ac­cord­ing to Ad­vo­cate Nde­bele, the new charges against Colonel Kolisang ap­peared to have been the re­sult of ob­jec­tions he raised against the ap­point­ment of Ma­jorGen­eral Let­soela as pres­i­dent of the Court Mar­tial.

“We don’t have con­fi­dence in the pres­i­dent any­more. We raise ob­jec­tions in line with court rules and we are charged. How can we hold trial?

We don’t know if our clients are go­ing to be charged for ask­ing the Court Mar­tial to al­low their griev­ances to be heard by the High Court as we in­tend to do.

“We sub­mit that the pres­i­dent should re­cuse him­self right now as he is surely a wit­ness in this mat­ter,” said Ad­vo­cate Nde­bele.

The lawyer cited Maj-gen Let­soela’s af­fi­davit in re­sponse to Colonel Kolisang’s ob­jec­tions about his pres­i­dency of the mil­i­tary court.

In the af­fi­davit, Maj-gen Let­soela dis­missed Colonel Kolisang’s ob­jec­tions as tan­ta­mount to in­sub­or­di­na­tion.

“For the colonel to say I am ‘only an act­ing Ma­jor-gen­eral’ is as if I do not have any pow­ers, du­ties and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties vested in the rank of Ma­jor-gen­eral save for the pur­pose of ap­point­ment.

“I may cal­cu­late such state­ments as knock­ing on the door of un­der­min­ing the rank as well as my per­sonal be­ing,” noted Maj-gen Kolisang.

“Or­di­nar­ily, the state­ment sounds con­trary to the ethics and con­duct ex­pected from an of­fi­cer of Colonel be­cause it lacks sub­stance; it sounds an at­tack­ing and in­sub­or­di­na­tion state­ment sadly to­wards the au­thor­i­ties (Min­is­ter of De­fence and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Tšeliso Mokhosi and LDF Com­man­der Lt-gen Kamoli), if ever the Colonel is re­fer­ring to ei­ther of the two men­tioned au­thor­i­ties”.

Colonel Kolisang and his fel­low mutiny sus­pects were ar­rested be­tween May and June this year and are de­tained in the Maseru Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Prison.

The case con­tin­ues in the Court Mar­tial this morn­ing.

COURT Mar­tial Pres­i­dent Ma­jor-gen­eral Mo­jalefa Let­soela

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