State op­poses Kamoli bail

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Tefo Tefo

FOR­MER Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) com­man­der, Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli, faces a lengthy wait for his mur­der and at­tempted mur­der trial in prison af­ter the pros­e­cu­tion elected to op­pose his bail ap­pli­ca­tion. The pros­e­cu­tion filed on Mon­day its in­ten­tion to op­pose Lt-gen Kamoli’s ap­pli­ca­tion in the High Court to be re­leased from Maseru Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Prison on bail. The for­mer army com­man­der had ap­plied for bail last Fri­day af­ter be­ing charged with one count of mur­der and 14 counts of at­tempted mur­der in the Mag­is­trate’s Court on 16 Oc­to­ber 2017. The mur­der charge is for the fa­tal shoot­ing of po­lice Sub-in­spec­tor Mokhe­seng Ramahloko dur­ing the 30 Au­gust 2014 at­tempted coup against the first govern­ment of Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane. In the mur­der charge, the for­mer LDF chief was joined to three army of­fi­cers who were charged last month and are also de­tained at the prison. The 14 at­tempted mur­der charges stem from the 27 Jan­uary 2014 s i mul­ta­ne­ous bomb­ings of the Moshoeshoe II homes of First Lady Mae­siah Tha­bane, ‘Mamoshoeshoe Mo­let­sane and the Ha Abia res­i­dence of for­mer po­lice com­mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana.

As part of in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the at­tacks, then po­lice com­mis­sioner Tšooana had re­quested to in­ter­view eight LDF mem­bers, but Lt-gen Kamoli re­fused to sur­ren­der the sol­diers, thereby sour­ing re­la­tions be­tween the two se­cu­rity agen­cies.

The pros­e­cu­tion is now ex­pected to file the an­swer­ing af­fi­davits op­pos­ing the bail ap­pli­ca­tion over the course of this week to en­able the High Court to de­ter­mine whether to hear ar­gu­ments on the ap­pli­ca­tion next Mon­day, or to se­lect a date of hear­ing.

In his bail ap­pli­ca­tion, Lt-gen Kamoli promised not to skip the coun­try if granted bail.

He also ar­gued that the re­fusal by the High Court to grant him bail would re­sult in his lengthy stay in cus­tody as it was un­likely that his mur­der trial would kick off be­fore 2019 due to the short­age of judges.

Lt-gen Kamoli also de­nied killing Sub-in­spec­tor Ramahloko, who was shot dead at po­lice head­quar­ters dur­ing an army raid to dis­arm key Maseru po­lice sta­tions.

The mil­i­tary claimed the raid was meant to foil a Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS) plan to arm civil­ians. How­ever, the op­er­a­tion has been widely re­garded as an at­tempt to top­ple a sit­ting govern­ment.

The 30 Au­gust 2014 raid was con­ducted soon af­ter Dr Tha­bane fired Lt-gen Tlali Kamoli as head of the LDF.

Lt-gen Kamoli re­fused to go and de­ployed sol­diers to raid and seize arms from po­lice sta­tions around Maseru. Lt Gen Kamoli ac­cused the LMPS of plan­ning to give civil­ians firearms for use dur­ing a Le­sotho Con­gress for Democ­racy street protest that was sched­uled for 1 Septem­ber 2014.

The LMPS has since de­nied al­le­ga­tions it had ever planned to arm civil­ians and Dr Tha­bane fled the coun­try af­ter re­ceiv­ing a tip off that his life was in dan­ger. He would then only re­turn the next month un­der heavy South African po­lice guard.

In his bail ap­pli­ca­tion, Lt-gen Tlali also ac­cused Mr Tšooana of sab­o­tag­ing a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the si­mul­ta­ne­ous bomb­ings.

“Your pe­ti­tioner’s ef­forts to make find­ings on the bombs was vi­ti­ated by the fact that the-then Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, Mr Khothatso Tšooana pre­vented the joint in­ves­ti­ga­tions of the mat­ter by the po­lice, Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ser­vice (NSS) and the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) which was or­dered by the-then Prime Min­is­ter, the Rt. Honourable Mot­soa­hae Tha­bane who is presently the Prime Min­is­ter.

“Mr Tšooana, at the time, re­fused to at­tend a meet­ing that was con­vened by the-then Deputy Prime Min­is­ter, Honourable Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing.”

Ac­cord­ing to the ap­pli­ca­tion, Mr Mets­ing was ac­com­pa­nied by the-then Min­is­ter of Sports, Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane and the-then min­is­ter in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice, Molo­beli Soulo and the then Di­rec­tor of the NSS Seeiso Lerotholi.

“Your pe­ti­tioner, in the event of his bail ap­pli­ca­tion be­ing re­sisted, shall sub­poena some of the above men­tioned peo­ple so that the court may make an in­formed de­ter­mi­na­tion of this mat­ter,” reads part of the pe­ti­tion.

Lt-gen Kamoli also urged the court to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the fact that he re­ported to the po­lice af­ter be­ing sum­moned, even though he knew about the se­ri­ous­ness of the charges he was go­ing to face.

Ac­cord­ing to the court pa­pers Lt-gen Kamoli spends much of his time in Ha-leqele, Maseru and his ru­ral home in Bo­bete, Thaba-tseka district.

His lawyers sug­gest that he should be re­leased on bail on con­di­tion that he pays a bail de­posit of M1 000, re­ports to po­lice head­quar­ters on his re­mand dates and does not in­ter­fere with state wit­nesses.

The for­mer army com­man­der is ex­pected to ap­pear again be­fore the Mag­is­trate’s Court on re­mand next Mon­day.

FOR­MER LDF com­man­der Lt-gen Tlali Kamoli.

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