…says he helped toppled his govt to starve off corruption charges
FORMER Prime Minister and outgoing leader of the Democratic Congress (DC), Pakalitha Mosisili, has sensationally claimed that Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki conspired with the then opposition to topple his regime in 2017 to avoid imminent corruption charges.
Dr Mosisili said Mr Moleleki, who served in different cabinet portfolios during the former’s tenure, had also faked illness in 2013 to avoid prosecution for his role in the unprocedural issuance of mining licences to Refela Holdings to operate diamond mines in Qacha’s Nek and Butha-Buthe.
Dr Mosisili said this on Friday at the DC elective conference in Ha Foso, Berea while delivering his final address as party leader. He will be stepping down after the conference which ends today to make way for his successor. Mathibeli Mokhothu, who is outgoing deputy leader and outgoing deputy secretary general Tlohang Sekhamane are vying to succeed him.
Dr Mosisili served as prime minister from May 1997 to June 2012 and again from March 2015 to June 2017 when he lost the snap national elections.
Mr Moleleki was the deputy leader in the DC until December 2016 when he left to form the Alliance of Democrats (AD) after an unsuccessful attempt to wrestle control of the DC leadership from Dr Mosisili.
Mr Moleleki joined forces with the then opposition bloc led by current premier Thomas Thabane to pass a vote of no confidence in the then Dr Mosisili-led seven parties’ coalition on 1 March 2017. This led to the 3 June 2017 snap elections which ushered the Thabane administration with Mr Moleleki as his deputy.
And on Friday, Dr Mosisili said Mr Moleleki only contributed to his 2017 downfall to avoid looming corruption charges that the former had sought to resuscitate in connection with the diamond licences that were corruptly issued during Mr Moleleki’s time as Natural Resources minister in 2012.
“It is not a hidden thing that the main reason why there was an attempt to oust me in the party national executive committee in 2016 was because I obstructed people from corruptly dishing out mining licenses,” Dr Mosisili said.
“It is also a known fact that the court case for the issuance of illegal mining licences died a natural death when my then deputy rebelled against my government just because I was pressing for charges against him now that he had recovered from his faked illness.
“Those (the then opposition) who were in the forefront in attacking us for corruption were paid to make the docket disappear so as to reward the accused (Mr Moleleki) for toppling our government.”
Mr Moleleki faced three counts of contravening the Mines and Minerals Act along with the four Refela executives, Mohapi Khofu, Tšepo Khofu, Kereke Moteletsane and Moeketsi Motšoane.
The Refela bosses were accused of failing to comply with the Mines and Minerals Act between 1 and 29 May 2012, when acquiring licences to prospect for diamonds in Ha Ramatšeliso and Mosaqane in the Qacha’s Nek district.
Mr Moleleki was accused of abusing his office to facilitate the issuance of the said permits.
The permits that were alleged to have been endorsed by Mr Moleleki, were later cancelled by then Mining Minister, Tlali Khasu, on 31 October 2012 on suspicion they had been issued under questionable circumstances.
Mr Moleleki and his co-accused were eventually acquitted by the High Court judge Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi in March 2017. They were acquitted after the prosecution failed to prosecute the case as it had not furnished the defence team with documents that the defence lawyers required to prepare their defence.
The case which kicked off in 2013 had stalled on account of Mr Moleleki’s battle with an illness that he later said was an aggressive form of tonsil cancer. It is this illness that Dr Mosisili described as a “faked illness” on Friday.
Contacted for comment AD spokesperson Thuso Litjobo yesterday accused Dr Mosisili of stooping very low in his quest to tarnish Mr Moleleki’s image.
“It is pathetic to see how low Ntate Mosisili has stooped. Ntate Moleleki didn’t have a say on where and how his docket was kept. If Ntate Moleleki was guilty he could have fled the country like other leaders who skip the country whenever they are accused of wrong doing,” Litjobo said.
“It is very unfortunate that today the very man who nursed Ntate Moleleki is now making these accusations. He is calling a curse unto himself because he is already old and might one day fall sick himself.
“For all we know, Ntate Moleleki was genuinely ill and he (Dr Mosisili) knows that as well,” Mr Litjobo said.