Tha­hane wants charges dropped

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

FOR­MER en­ergy Min­is­ter ti­mothy tha­hane wants to be ac­quit­ted of the fraud charges he is fac­ing be­fore the High Court.

dr tha­hane is ac­cused of de­fraud­ing govern­ment of over M24 mil­lion ear­marked for the Block Farm­ing pro­ject. the al­leged fraud is al­leged to have hap­pened eight years ago while Dr Tha­hane was fi­nance min­is­ter.

How­ever, Se­nior Coun­sel Guido Pen­zhorn, who is pros­e­cut­ing the case, told pre­sid­ing judge, Jus­tice tšeliso Mon­aphathi, this week he would not call fur­ther wit­nesses to tes­tify against dr tha­hane.

in re­sponse, dr tha­hane’s lawyer, Se­nior Coun­sel du­misa Buhle Nt­se­beza, told the court he would ap­ply for his client’s dis­charge be­cause the state had failed to prove its case against the for­mer min­is­ter.

“We in­tend to make an ap­pli­ca­tion for dis­charge in terms of sec­tion 175 (3) of the Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure and ev­i­dence Act.

“We would like to pre­pare heads of ar­gu­ment be­cause we be­lieve it would be in the in­ter­est of jus­tice as well as to as­sist the court,” Ad­vo­cate Nt­se­beza said.

How­ever, Ad­vo­cate Pen­zhorn said he would be ready to ad­dress the court with­out writ­ten sub­mis­sions when the case re­sumes to­day.

Mean­while, Ad­vo­cate Nt­se­beza’s de­ci­sion to ap­ply for dis­charge came af­ter Jus­tice Mon­aphathi ex­plained the op­tions avail­able to dr tha­hane af­ter the pros­e­cu­tion had closed its case.

“We have now reached a stage where the crown has closed its case and there are some op­tions avail­able to you,” Jus­tice Mon­apha- thi said.

“The first op­tion is you may de­cide to keep quiet and not say any­thing; the se­cond op­tion is you may make an ap­pli­ca­tion for dis­charge and the third one is that you may elect to take the wit­ness stand.”

Among the wit­nesses who have tes­ti­fied in the case are Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili and for­mer deputy Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary (PS) for the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Food Se­cu­rity, Lite­boho Stephen Mo­fu­bet­soana.

dr Mo­sisili told the court he only came to tes­tify be­cause he had been sub­poe­naed to do so.

the prime min­is­ter said he was not aware af­ter giv­ing in­for­ma­tion to the di­rec­torate on Cor­rup­tion and eco­nomic Of­fences (dceo), he would be called to tes­tify against the for­mer min­is­ter.

“the dceo only wanted in­for­ma­tion from me and when they later said i should tes­tify, i de­clined. i am here to­day be­cause i was sub­poe­naed,” dr Mo­sisili said.

Ac­cord­ing to the charge sheet, dr tha­hane on June 6 2008 al­legedly mis­rep­re­sented to Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank that dr Mo­sisili, and then Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Ralechate ‘Mokose, had en­dorsed a Block Farm­ing pro­ject for veg­etable farm­ers be­long­ing to temo-‘moho Mpha­rane Agri­cul­tural As­so­ci­a­tion of Leribe, re­sult­ing in govern­ment los­ing M18 092 587.50.

the se­cond count re­lates to dr tha­hane’s al­leged mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion to Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank that fuel sup­plied to temo‘Moho, to­tal­ing M6 076 502.68, was payable by the bank to the sup­pli­ers, en­gen Le­sotho Lim­ited. the state, how­ever, ar­gues M4.8 mil­lion had al­ready been paid out to temo‘Moho by in­di­vid­ual farm­ers and dr tha­hane was aware of this.

Dr Tha­hane made his first ap­pear­ance in the Maseru Mag­is­trate’s Court on Novem­ber 4, 2013 and was al­lowed to go home af­ter pay­ing M10 000 bail and M100 000 surety.

FOR­MER En­ergy Min­is­ter Ti­mothy Tha­hane.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.