Thabane warns Mosisili

PM warns pre­de­ces­sor of pros­e­cu­tion for ‘grave mis­deeds’ De­clares Mets­ing a fugi­tive from jus­tice

Lesotho Times - - News - Staff Re­porters

PRIME Min­is­ter Thomas Thabane has de­clared Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) leader, Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing, a “fugi­tive from jus­tice” while is­su­ing a stern warn­ing to his pre­de­ces­sor Pakalitha Mosisili to de­sist from “desta­bi­liz­ing” the cur­rent coali­tion govern­ment or risk se­vere con­se­quences.

Dr Thabane said he would de­scend on Dr Mosisili like a “tonne of bricks” if the ex-pre­mier does not change course and con­tin­ues to pur­sue an agenda of de­rail­ing the cur­rent coali­tion which re­gained power in June 2017.

Dr Mosisili’s Demo­cratic Congress (DC) has vowed to wreck Dr Thabane’s govern­ment through a se­ries of mea­sures in­clud­ing a no­con­fi­dence mo­tion.

Dr Thabane also branded for­mer deputy prime min­is­ter (DPM) Mets­ing a “fugi­tive from jus­tice” who fled to avoid fac­ing cor­rup­tion charges.

The pre­mier spoke in a wide-rang­ing in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times to mark his coali­tion govern­ment’s nearly six months in of­fice. The full text of the in­ter­view is pub­lished on Pages 8 and 9.

Re­spond­ing to Dr Mosisili’s re­peated con­dem­na­tion of the planned de­ploy­ment of South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) troops to Maseru, Dr Thabane vowed never to take in­struc­tions from his pre­de­ces­sor.

“When he (Dr Mosisili) was prime min­is­ter, he did what he thought was best for the coun­try. I am now the prime min­is­ter and he must re­spect my de­ci­sions…. and he must go to his home and en­joy his pen­sion. If his pen­sion is not enough and he is not en­joy­ing him­self, then he must say so and ask Par­lia­ment to re­view it….

“I am now the prime min­is­ter and I am not tak­ing orders from him. He must be grate­ful that I am not tak­ing away his pen­sion. If he pro­vokes me, I can take away that pen­sion and dig up his is­sues which I had de­cided to ig­nore.”

Dr Thabane said his pre­de­ces­sor had com­mit­ted a lot of “grave mis­deeds” over his long prime min­is­te­rial ca­reer. He had none­the­less elected to ig­nore such mis­deeds af­ter he was sworn into of­fice on 16 June 2017.

“For the sake of peace I had de­cided to ig­nore his mis­deeds but if he pushes me, I will go for him. If he con­tin­ues on his course, I will go for him like a tonne of bricks. Those who love Mr Mosisili should warn him that I will go for him like a tonne of bricks.

“He must stop desta­bi­liz­ing my govern­ment and (he must) be­have as a dig­ni­fied for­mer prime min­is­ter so that if need arises, I can send him to rep­re­sent the coun­try at events abroad,” said the pre­mier em­phat­i­cally.

Dr Thabane said he would also not dig­nify Dr Mosisili’s re­cent call to his DC sup­port­ers to pre­pare for elec­tions with a re­sponse. Suf­fice to warn the ex-pre­mier that he would de­scend on him heav­ily if he does not change course.

“Mosisili’s regime did many bad things. Ba­sotho who went into ex­ile were run­ning away from him (Mosisili). He ex­iled peo­ple in­clud­ing me. My fo­cus now is to get this coun­try out of the hell-hole that Mosisili put us it into.”

Dr Mosisili has spo­ken out against the im­pend­ing de­ploy­ment of SADC troops say­ing Ba­sotho should re­solve their own prob­lems. He has also ral­lied his sup­port­ers to pre­pare for elec­tions, sug­gest­ing that this cur­rent coali­tion would not last. The re­marks seem to have in­censed Dr Thabane.

The pre­mier also had harsh words for Mr Mets­ing who fled to South Africa in Au­gust cit­ing threats to his life.

Dr Thabane chided Mr Mets­ing for “ly­ing” to the South African me­dia that his life was in dan­ger. He said the real rea­son Mr Mets­ing had fled was the cor­rup­tion charges that the Direc­torate on Cor­rup­tion and Eco­nomic Of­fences (DCEO) had been pur­su­ing against him.

“Mets­ing is a fugi­tive from jus­tice,” de­clared Dr Thabane.

“He must go and talk to (Borotho) Mat­soso (the head of the DCEO) be­cause Mat­soso has a file on him. All Mat­soso will ask him is to go to court and prove his in­no­cence…..he (Mets­ing) must come back and an­swer cor­rup­tion charges….. We will not molest him. We will give him pro­tec­tion to go to court un­til the case is over….

“He must come and have his day in court for cor­rup­tion. His at­tempts to por­tray him­self as a vic­tim of my govern­ment is very un­for­tu­nate when he knows that he is run­ning away from the cor­rup­tion charges that he must an­swer to.”

Dr Thabane in­sisted that there had been no threats against Mets­ing, as­sert­ing that the LCD leader had been ly­ing in his state­ments to the South African me­dia.

The pre­mier said Mr Mets­ing had been at­tribut­ing the al­leged threats on his life to him, while also com­plain­ing that the pre­mier was not af­ford­ing him pro­tec­tion.

“How do you ask for pro­tec­tion from some­one threat­en­ing you,” he queried.

Dr Thabane said he was ready to let Mr Mets­ing iden­tify his friends in the LDF to pro­tect him upon his re­turn. He said he would fa­cil­i­tate for those sol­diers to pro­tect Mr Mets­ing to guar­an­tee his se­cu­rity com­fort.

But the prime min­is­ter in­sisted that Mr Mets­ing would then have to be taken to court to an­swer for his cor­rup­tion charges.

Mr Mets­ing is be­ing probed by the DCEO in light of al­le­ga­tions there had been sus­pi­cious de­posits into his bank ac­counts be­tween 2013 and 2014. Mr Mets­ing al­legedly re­ceived M328 000 and M118 000 be­tween April 2013 and June 2013. A de­posit of M524 964 into his ac­count was also not ex­plained.

This was af­ter the con­tro­ver­sial al­lo­ca­tion of a road ten­der to a com­pany known as Big Bravo Con­struc­tion Com­pany for the con­struc­tion of roads in the Ha-matala and HaLe­qele vil­lages of Maseru.

The com­pany is al­leged to have won the ten­der at Mr Mets­ing’s in­sti­ga­tion — who was also Lo­cal Govern­ment, Chief­tain­ship and Par­lia­men­tary Af­fairs min­is­ter at the time — and the com­pany left road works in­com­plete about two months be­fore their con­tract ended in 2015.

Mr Mets­ing then tried to seek relief from the courts ar­gu­ing that his con­sti­tu­tional rights had been vi­o­lated but his case was dis­missed by the con­sti­tu­tional court.

While that judg­ment should have paved the way for Mr Mets­ing’s pros­e­cu­tion, this did not hap­pen be­cause the DPM had walked out of his coali­tion with Dr Thabane and joined forces with Dr Mosisili af­ter the Fe­bru­ary 2015 elec­tions, around the same time Mr Mets­ing had lost his court case.

With Mr Mets­ing back in the driv­ing seat as Dr Mosisili’s deputy, pros­e­cut­ing au­thor­i­ties did noth­ing against him.

Then Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions Le­aba Thet­sane, whom Dr Thabane had un­suc­cess- fully tried to oust from of­fice, did not pros­e­cute Mr Mets­ing.

Dr Thabane said Mr Mets­ing’s cor­rup­tion case could not sim­ply die a nat­u­ral death con­sid­er­ing the kick­backs that were in­volved and in light of his de­ter­mi­na­tion to stamp out cor­rup­tion.

If Mr Mets­ing re­fused to re­turn vol­un­tar­ily to an­swer the cor­rup­tion charges, his ar­rest and ex­tra­di­tion from South Africa could be­come an op­tion, the pre­mier said.

But Dr Thabane urged Mr Mets­ing to re­turn vol­un­tar­ily and have his day in court in­stead of “mis­lead­ing the world” that his life was in dan­ger.

“He (Mets­ing) has never been threat­ened by any­one from me. I never asked any­one to threaten Mets­ing. I have never done that. He is ly­ing….,” added Dr Thabane.

Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Thabane

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