Defence lawyers petition court in Mahao case
THE trial date for the eight soldiers accused of murdering former Lesotho Defence Force Commander, Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao, will be set on 9 July this year.
High Court judge Justice Thamsanqa Nomngcongo who was supposed to set the date last Thursday, said he would now do so on 9 July after the lawyers for the accused informed him that the prosecution had not yet given the statements by witnesses.
The defence needs the witnesses’ statements to enable them to effectively prepare their defence in the case.
Justice Nomngcongo ordered the prosecution to furnish the defence lawyers with the witnesses’ statements by 9 July.
He also ordered the eight army officers to appear before the High Court on the 9 July 2018 for the court to set trial dates.
The eight army officers are Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Captain Haleo Makara, Sergeant Lekhooa Moepi, Sergeant Motsamai Fako, Corporal Marasi ‘Moleli, Corporal Motšoane Machai, Corporal Mohlalefi Seitlheko and Corporal Tšitso Ramoholi.
They stand accused murdering Lt-Gen Mahao in Mokema near Maseru on 25 June 2015.
The Mahao’s family has also said it was mulling a court application to have the former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, his former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing and former army commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli held answerable for Lt-Gen Mahao’s assassination.
Two months ago, the government told the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that it had completed investigations into the June 2015 assassination of Lt-Gen Mahao, adding that eight soldiers have since been charged with his murder.
“What is pending (in the Mahao investigation) is the ballistic report as the firearms used in this case were submitted by the LDF and sent to ballistics section for testing on 19 March 2018,” the government said.