BASOTHO National Party (BNP) spokesperson, Machesetsa Mofomobe was briefly arrested by members of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) on Friday while he was following proceedings of the constitutional case he filed in the High Court against the government.
Mr Mofomobe and a political activist, Mohato Seleke last month filed a constitutional challenge seeking an order to declare, among other things, that the government has no powers to utilise public funds starting on 1 April 2017 because they were not authorised by parliament before its dissolution by King Letsie III on 6 March 2017.
He was briefly arrested during proceedings on that application on Friday and according to the warrant of apprehension issued by the Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, he was supposed to be arrested for a contempt of court offence he allegedly committed the previous Thursday.
However, the warrant did not specify the nature of the contempt Mr Mofomobe is alleged to have committed.
But his lawyer, Attorney Tumisang Mosotho yesterday told the Sunday Express that his client was accused of being contemptuous to the Magistrate’s Court by failing to attend criminal proceedings before that court where he was supposed to be a state witness.
“When he was arrested he was told that he did not turn up before the Magistrate’s Court to testify in a case in which one Ramahooana (Matlosa) is facing some charges,” Atty Mosotho said.
“He could not go to the Magistrate’s Court to answer that contempt charge laid against him because he was attending the proceedings of the case in which he was a litigant before the High Court.”
Mr Matlosa, a former Democratic Congress (DC) activist is facing sedition charges before the Magistrate’s Court for allegedly saying in one local radio station that the former tripartite coalition government led by the All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane had collapsed.
The case was scheduled to proceed on Thursday and Mr Mofomobe was one of the state witnesses.
However, Atty Mosotho raised his concern before a panel of five High Court judges over Mr Mofomobe’s arrest during the argument of Mr Mofomobe’s constitutional challenge.
“My client’s arrest is nothing but a way to frustrate him as a litigant in the ongoing proceedings before this honourable court,” the lawyer said.
In response, High Court judge Justice Molefi Makara also condemned Mr Mofomobe’s arrest saying: “No, this cannot be allowed!”
Mr Mofomobe subsequently returned to the High Court to attend the court proceedings after reporting to the police.
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