Metsing angry over corruption charges
By thabo On 4 Aug, 2014 At 01:08 PM | Categorized As Local, News | With 2 Comments

 

. . . Court appearance meant to humiliate me, says Deputy Prime minister

Tefo Tefo

THE prosecution made a sensational U-turn on Friday, withdrawing corruption charges against Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing and Communications, Science and Technology Minister Selibe Mochoboroane, before trial could proceed in the Maseru Magistrate’s Court.

The Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship Affairs Deputy Principal Secretary Ntai Makoetje and the ministry’s Chief Engineer Lillane Sekatle, as well as the Maseru City Council Town Clerk ‘Mantai Phaila and Treasurer ‘Mamolemo Moseme, who were also being jointly charged with Mr Metsing and Mr Mochoboroane, also had their charges withdrawn on a day of high drama in the city.

According to the charges, which were read in court before the prosecution announced their withdrawal, the accused allegedly contravened provisions of the Penal Code Act, No. 6 of 2010 in March last year.
“During or about 15th March 2013 to date, at or near Maseru, the accused did unlawfully and with intent to defraud, misrepresent to the Government of Lesotho and/or Minister of Finance that the M53, 095, 027.00 they requested from the Ministry of Finance and was allocated, was for the procurement of yellow plant and its insurance on behalf of the Maseru City Council.

“Alternatively, they are accused of failing to reveal to the Minister of Finance, information that they ought to have disclosed, that they had already obtained the M53, 095,027.00.
“This was done with the intent that the finance minister should act upon the said misrepresentation and as a result of the non-disclosure, the minister of finance granted a waiver for the procurement of new Caterpillars (road-construction machinery) worth M38, 057, 760.00.

“This waiver was used as a pretext for the unlawful and wrongful expenditure and use of the M53, 095, 027.00,” reads the charge sheet.

But soon after the charges had been read before the court, Crown Counsel Advocate Kananelo Khoboko drew gasps of disbelief from the packed courtroom when she announced the case was being withdrawn.
Advocate Khoboko said: “My instructions are that the charges should be withdrawn to enable the prosecution to reconsider its position in the case, as well as enable investigations to be completed.”

Advocate Motiea Teele (King’s Counsel), who was representing Mr Metsing and Mr Mochoboroane, and Advocate Salemane Phafane (King’s Counsel) for the other four accused, then told the court they had no problem with the withdrawal of the charges.

“We wish to confirm that the position by the crown was communicated to us in camera and we have no problem with that decision,” Advocate Teele said.
On his part, Advocate Phafane said: “Equally on behalf of my clients, we have no objection to the direction taken by the prosecution.”
Chief Magistrate ‘Matankiso Nthunya, then announced that the charges had been formally withdrawn.
“The prosecution says it withdraws the case against you, which means the charges have been formally withdrawn,” she ruled.

However, Mr Metsing, who is the leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) — which formed a coalition government with the All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Basotho National Party (BNP) after the May 26, 2012 general election had failed to produce a single party with an outright majority seats — was far from impressed with the whole episode, and expressed his frustration and anger soon after the court appearance.
Addressing hundreds of his supporters, and those from the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) outside the courtroom and later at the LCD offices, the visibly emotional Mr Metsing criticized the manner in which he was served with the summons to appear in court, which he said was meant to humiliate him.

The LCD leader was handed the summons as soon as he arrived at the Moshoeshoe I International Airport on Thursday on his way from Namibia, where he had gone on a peace mission with ABC leader, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and BNP Deputy Leader Joang Molapo.

Relations between the three parties in government have soured over recent months due to Dr Thabane’s alleged failure to consult his fellow coalition leaders when making crucial decisions with a bearing on good governance.

Among those “unilateral” decisions was Dr Thahabe’s nine-month suspension of parliament last month, during which the premier said he hoped the three partners would have resolved their differences.
Mr Metsing told the chanting crowd: “No one in the entire police service can truly say that he or she does not know where I live.
It was therefore, uncalled for to be served with summons to appear in court while I had just landed at the airport.
The only explanation to what has transpired is nothing but a calculated move to embarrass me.
“However, the emotional pain that I have been subjected to was to prepare me to become a winner in every political challenge that I am going to face.
“I was made a sacrifice for Lesotho’s democracy; indeed, someone had to be sacrificed for the benefit of this country’s democracy. And who could that person be other than myself?”
However, the LCD leader suggested the police who served him with the summons were “just messengers”, although he was not specific as to who could have sent them to “humiliate” him.
“I know the poor police officers were only trying to please their master by humiliating me like that,” he said.

Meanwhile, soon after Mr Metsing’s address, Maseru City Council workers started singing and chanting as they cheered the Town Clerk, Ms Phaila, following the prosecution’s withdrawal of the corruption charges against her.

In her brief address, Ms Phaila commended the staff for the solidarity they showed her from the time she was arrested on Thursday until her appearance in court on Friday.
“I know some of you wanted to meet with us when we were still being detained in the police cells, but you were not allowed because of the police procedures.
That initiative alone was great support and I am glad that you still believe in us,” Ms Phaila said, her voice filled with emotion.

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  1. BkC says:

    Thabane and his fanatics have now gone too far!

    While no one is above the law in this Country and democracy but the dirty tactic is clear even to the dull and the ignorant as to its’ motive!

    The police have been attempting without success at humiliating other senior political figures as such in the past.

    It is common cause in Maseru that Thahane was one of those that was to have faced such a humiliation before, among a few!

    This is not how even common criminals are treated in this country!

    They say you teach a dog how to bite and next time it will eat up your own children. So Thabane and his cronies should be careful in teaching their dogs how to bite bitterly lest they are bitten bitterly themselves at one point!

    What is even more nauseating is the admission by the crown counsel that they do not have adequate evidence for proceeding with the prosecution.

    Perhaps, this is Thabane’s way of teaching those opposed to his dirty tactics a lesson!

    But at the end it is the very PM who ends up being seen to be the fool in the public eyes for failure by his dogs to prosecute!

  2. Muso says:

    Police & DCEO should be free to do their work should there be any suspicions of corruption or crime to any person irrespective of their status, religion, positions they hold in government or any position in society, or even the time at which such investigations are done!

    Basotho, we should be happy that now no one is above the law and that Our Security agencies are now doing their work without threats and intimidations. Even our prime ministers should be prone to investigations while still in power without any fear of threats or intimidations. Ntate Thabane should be treated equally with anyone under the rules of LAW.

    Taking this issue of DPM, who says the summon should have been delivered to his house! Does this mean it was correct for PS-Finance & GS who were served with suspension & firing letters on arriving at airport or while abroad on a journey? Does the law say who should be served with a summon/suspension letter at what a place, time or any manner? OR are there people here in Lesotho who deserve humiliation if they are suspected of crime or misconduct?

    If to avoid humiliation, arrest procedures have to be applied secretely, then this should apply to all.

    It is so sad how our fellow brothers, some of which end up not guilty of charges made against them, suffer terrible humiliation, beating and all that inhuman treatment that sometimes leads to death and our legislators including the said DPM have done nothing to combat this! Why then does He wants to be helped when it happens to HIM? OR is He not aware of all this maltreatment by police on the society?

    This is wake-up call to all Basotho that we are all equal irespective of our status. If certain laws & procedures have to change to combat that inequality and inhummanity, then it is time because now we are in a new regime where a prime minister, a minister or a CEO are only bosses in their offices not in our communities! Or else the laws & procedures are now also going to apply to them equally.

    I congradulate the current prime minister, if He is responsible for this, provided he is also open for any investigations.

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