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‘First Lady should not be subpoenaed for the sake of it’

by Sunday Express
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Tefo Tefo

THE First Lady ‘Maesaiah Thabane’s lawyer, Advocate ‘Mabatšoeneng Hlaele, on Thursday questioned the rationale behind the decision by the family of fraud accused ‘Makarabo Mojakhomo to subpoena Ms Thabane to testify in the inquest into Ms Mojakhomo’s alleged disappearance from police custody on 30 May this year.

Adv Hlaele demanded to know what value the First Lady’s testimony would bring to the case, adding that “witnesses should not be called just for the sake of it”.

Adv Hlaele said this in the High Court on Thursday.

Ms Thabane and the Police and Public Safety minister, ‘Mampho Mokhele were subpoenaed by the Mojakhomo family to testify in the case they lodged before the High Court in which they want the court to order the police produce Ms Mojakhomo dead or alive.

High Court judge Justice Semapo Peete, on 3 July 2018, postponed the case to Thursday 19 July after Ms Thabane indicated that she could not appear in court at the time because she was busy preparing for the cancer conference that she will host this week.

Ms Mojakhomo was last seen by her relatives at the Police Headquarters in Maseru on 30 May 2018 where she was detained for allegedly defrauding the ‘Maesaiah Thabane Trust Fund of at least M200 000.

Ms Mojakhomo was arrested on 29 May this year and she was due in court on 31 May in connection with the fraud and theft of at least M200 000 from First Lady Maesaiah Thabane’s Trust Fund.  She could not appear in court after the police claimed she had escaped from custody while they were preparing to take her to court.

But Ms Mojakhomo’s family have come out guns blazing insisting there is no way that she could have broken out of tightly guarded police cells. The family has since petitioned the High Court for an order for the police to produce her dead or alive.

The family has cited social media reports that she could have been murdered by the police as one of the reasons for its bid to have her produced before the court.

On 3 July 2018, the Mojakhomo family’s lawyer, Adv Molati, told Justice Peete that the court should give the First Lady and the Police minister a chance to testify as their testimony “would assist the court to reach a conclusion as to whether or not ‘Makarabo escaped from police custody or was made to disappear by the police”.

After the no-show of Ms Thabane and Ms Mokhele on 3 July, Adv Molati told the court that he received information that the First Lady could not turn up because she was engaged on issues of national importance relating to the campaign against cancer.

He said he did not know why Ms Mokhele did not attend court proceedings.

Adv Molati added that he believed that both Ms Thabane and Ms Mokhele we not willing to testify before the court.

Ms Mokhele finally testified on Thursday but Ms Thabane did not show-up.

However, her lawyer Adv Hlaele dismissed Adv Molati’s claims that she was not willing to testify in court.

Adv Hlaele maintained she was determined to attend court proceedings but she was still busy with her campaign against cancer.

“I want to reiterate that my client is willing to come to court. She has no reservations at all. But as I speak now she is engaged in a walk in Qacha’s Nek regarding the campaign on cancer,” Adv Hlaele said.

He however, questioned the rationale behind the decision to subpoena Ms Thabane to testify in the inquest into Ms Mojakhomo’s alleged disappearance from police custody.

“I read the notice of motion (for the case) and I must say when witnesses are called to testify before court it should not be the waste of time. The issue of relevance of the witness’s testimony is very important.

“This is a sensitive matter and witnesses should not be called just for the sake of calling them.

“The First Lady will address the court, but we need to know what value she is going to add,” Adv Hlaele stated.

Adv Molati responded by saying that the decision to subpoena the First Lady as it was a lawful one.

“I have done nothing wrong, absolutely nothing wrong. I have done what the law says I should do and I have done only that,” Adv Molati said.

Justice Peete subsequently postponed the inquest to Thursday this week by which time Ms Thabane should have been served with the affidavit of the Mojakhomo family to enable her to prepare her testimony.

The court first heard the testimony of Ms Mokhele.

She told the court that the Commissioner of Police, Holomo Molibeli, told over the phone on 31 May 2018 that Ms Mojakhomo had escaped.

She said after learning about Ms Mojakhomo’s escape she then instructed Commissioner Molibeli to order an investigation into the whereabouts of Ms Mojakhomo so that she could be arrested and taken to courts to answer the charges levelled against her.

 

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