Kamoli makes High Court appearance
FORMER army commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, on Thursday made his long-awaited appearance before the High Court to stand trial for murder in relation to the killing of Police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko by soldiers during the attempted coup of 30 August 2014.
It however, turned out to be a brief appearance for the former army chief who appeared alongside his co-accused soldiers before a packed courtroom as Justice Thamsanqa Nomngcongo only read the charge before postponing the case to 12 April this year.
Lt-Gen Kamoli appeared alongside Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Lance Corporal Motloheloa Ntsane and Lance Corporal Leutsoa Motsieloa.
The clean-shaven former army chief slowly and silently rose to his feet as Justice Nomngcongo called out “Tlali Kamoli,” before calling out the names of his fellow-accused.
After informing them that they were in court to face a charge of murdering Sub-Inspector Ramahloko, Justice Nomngcongo added, “I notice there is only one count here and I presume there are other charges to be added since this is just a holding charge”.
The judge made the remarks after the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane had informed him that the murder charge was “just a holding charge”.
A holding charge is legal jargon which refers to an accusation that can levelled against a suspect so that they can be detained while more charges are being prepared or investigated.
“The case is postponed to the 12 April, 2018 for mention,” Justice Nomngcongo ruled before Lt-Gen Kamoli and his co-accused, were taken back to the Maseru Maximum Security Prison where they are currently detained ahead of the murder trial.
Lt-Gen Kamoli was excused from attending remands in the Magistrate’s Court in November 2017 after the prosecution informed the court that the police investigations were complete and the case was ready to be sent to the High Court for trial.
Lt-Gen Kamoli retired on 1 December 2016 and was only arrested in October 2017, just a few months after the advent of the Thomas Thabane-led four party regime in June 2017.
He has been languishing in custody at the Maximum Security Prison since his arrest in October 2017 and his bid for release on bail was denied by High Court judge, Justice Teboho Moiloa.
Justice Moiloa ruled in November 2017 that Lt-Gen Kamoli had failed in his bail application to substantiate his claim that he was suffering from influenza which required him to be in close proximity to his doctors. Justice Moiloa also ruled that Lt-Gen Kamoli had failed to demonstrate that there were exceptional circumstances that warranted his release on bail as required by law.
Lt-Gen Kamoli also faces 14 counts of attempted murder in connection with the 27 January 2014 simultaneous bombings of the Moshoeshoe II homes of First Lady Maesaiah Thabane and the Ha Abia residence of former police commissioner, Khothatso Tšooana.