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Prosecutor faces three counts of corruption

Sello Morake

MASERU — A public prosecutor who allegedly received a bribe from a stock-theft suspect in order to drop charges against her is facing three counts of corruption in the High Court.
Motlatsi Motsamai, 39, on April 16, 2007 allegedly demanded a bribe to the tune of M3 500 from ’Malisebo Khosi who was facing a stock-theft charge in the Leribe Magistrate’s Court.
Motsamai is also charged with intentionally agreeing to use his position as a public prosecutor to be influenced by a gift.
The third charge against Motsamai is that he accepted M2 950 for facilitating the withdrawal of charges against Khosi.
The police allegedly gave Khosi the money which had secret markings to give it to Motsamai as a trap.
Khosi allegedly threw it away at the sight of the police.
His lawyer, Pitso Nts’ene, argued before Justice ’Maseforo Mahase on Friday that Motsamai did not take anything from Khosi.
Instead Nts’ene said Khosi was the one who offered to bribe Motsamai but he refused to take money from her.
“Malisebo (Khosi) had a conversation with Motsamai and at the time her phone was on loud speaker so that the people around her could hear what was being said,” Nts’ene said.
“The money was discussed in that telephone conversation. They agreed to meet at the office. She said that Motsamai should take the money in the envelope.”
Nts’ene said what showed that Motsamai never received anything from Khosi was that “crown witness evidences differed terribly as to how the money was handed” to Motsamai.
According to the evidence provided in court, when they met Khosi raised the money above her head when she gave it to Motsamai.
Nts’ene argued that the police testimony differed from Khosi’s.
The police said Khosi might have touched her head after giving Motsamai the money. The police however did not find money which had their secret markings on Motsamai.
“That witness’ evidence is a mere fabrication,” Nts’ene said.
“The only reason a police trap was set was that the accused be found with the specific money.”
Nts’ene said the fact that no one raised alarm when Motsamai allegedly threw the money away rendered the crown’s evidence “a mere fabrication”.
“The crown’s case is in tatters, it does not lead us anywhere. There is no case to answer,” Nts’ene said.
The crown counsel, Thabo Matooane, told the court that an act of corruption was completed when Motsamai and Khosi agreed on the offer of money for the withdrawal of charges.
“The trap was only a culmination as they had already agreed,” Matooane said.
Justice Maseforo Mahase will hand down judgment on November 6.

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