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Advocate rearrested for smuggling

Caswell Tlali

MASERU — Advocate Koili Ndebele was rearrested on Thursday when he was about to leave the Maseru Central Prison where he had spent four days after being jailed for contempt of court.

Ndebele had been jailed on Monday following a heated exchange with Magistrate Molemo Monethi in court.

He was on trial for contempt of court when he started arguing with the magistrate, insisting that instead of being asked to plead he should be allowed to “raise points of law”.

After a war of words Monethi ordered that Ndebele be jailed for four days because he had shown contempt for the court by being belligerent.

Ndebele spent three nights at the Maseru Central Prison.

And on Thursday afternoon he was told he had served his sentence and was free to go home but just as he was about to walk out of the prison, authorities discovered that he had committed another offense.

A prison warder told the Sunday Express that Ndebele was caught trying to smuggle a letter from prison.

Ndebele was immediately thrown back into prison.

The source who requested anonymity for fear of retribution said the letter Ndebele was allegedly trying to smuggle had been written by a “well-known politician” in prison.

The source however refused to reveal the politician’s and the addressee’s details saying it was possible the prison authorities would discover that he was the one who had leaked details of the incident to this newspaper.

He also refused to reveal the contents of the letter.

The source said the letter was discovered among Ndebele papers.

At the time of going to print the Sunday Express had not managed to verify the politician’s identity.

Prison authorities refused to comment when asked about the incident on Friday afternoon.

Every letter getting in or out of prison is censored by the authorities and it is a criminal offence to smuggle any written paper in prison.

When Ndebele was rearrested he was due to appear before Magistrate Monethi again to face trial for the main contempt of court charge.

This was because during his first court appearance on Monday Ndebele’s case had failed to proceed.

Instead of hearing the case Monethi was angered by Ndebele’s belligerence and ordered that he be jailed for four days.

Ndebele is accused of interfering with the execution of a judgment in a case in which his client had lost.

He is accused of locking a court messenger out of his client’s office.

The court messenger had come to collect some property whose ownership was in dispute.

Ndebele is representing Moeketsi Tsatsanyane (pictured), a former politician, who is locked in a bitter ownership dispute over the Lesotho Public Motor Transport Company (LPMTC) with Makalo Monare.

The LMPTC owns a property that includes a garage in the bus stop area.

Both Tsatsanyane and Monare have laid claim to the company, resulting in court battles that have dragged on for the past three years.

In 2010 Tsatsanyane and Monare ganged up to wrestle the company from Makhoabe Mohaleroe who was claiming to be a director.

Mohaleroe put up a strong fight but lost the battle when the court ruled that he could not be a director because he had been convicted of fraud in 1986.

With Mohaleroe out of the way Tsatsanyane and Monare then turned their “guns” on each other.

After the fallout Tsatsanyane laid fraud charges against Monare and his lawyer.

Monare then launched a counterattack by laying contempt of court charges against Ndebele.

It was that charge Ndebele was supposed to answer on Monday when he started arguing with Monethi, leading to his four-day imprisonment.

On Thursday afternoon Monare, his lawyer and Tsatsanyane were waiting for Ndebele in Monethi’s chamber when a court messenger announced that Ndebele could not make it to the court because he had been rearrested.

A source who was in the chambers said on hearing news of Ndebele’s arrest Monethi “sighed and announced that he had given up on Ndebele”.

The magistrate then postponed the case indefinitely.

Ndebele could not be reached for a comment but this paper understands he was released on Friday.

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