MASERU — Sekamaneng headman, Napo Majara, appeared in court last week to answer a charge of demanding a M500 bribe to approve the transfer of a residential site.
Majara appeared before Justice ’Maseforo Mahase on Tuesday. He is denying the charge.
The crown alleges that Majara abused his position as a state official to “unlawfully, intentionally and corruptly demand M500” from Bokoro Frank Tau as an inducement for providing the necessary documentation to facilitate the transfer of the site.
The incident allegedly occurred on December 4 2004.
The site, according to the charge indictment, was being transferred from Dingane Tau to Bokoro Frank Tau.
Majara is alternatively charged with contravening Section 21 (1) of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act, 1999.
The case however failed to proceed because defence lawyer, Advocate Tšeliso Fosa, objected to the charges.
“We object to all the charges and the alternative charges,” Fosa told the court, arguing that Majara was not a public officer.
He said in terms of the law a public officer had come to mean a head of a statutory body.
“A chief has no contract of service like other state officials either temporary or permanently. He does not have a leave and has no pension,” Fosa argued.
He added that chiefs did not even receive allowances from the government.
Crown counsel Advocate Gareth Lepan said it was important for the defence to have indicated timeously that there would be objections.
He asked the court to give him an opportunity to respond to submissions by the defence after seeking advice from the Director of the Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The case will proceed on October 18.