State fabricating evidence against Kamoli: lawyer
MURDER-ACCUSED former army commander Tlali Kamoli’s lawyer, Letuka Molati, has accused the state of conniving with former acting Police Commissioner, Keketso Monaheng, to fabricate evidence against his client.
This after Mr Monaheng told the High Court that he had informed then Police and Public Safety Minister, Monyane Moleleki, that Kamoli had refused to cooperate with him while he was investigating the 25 June 2015 murder of army commander, ‘Maaparankoe Mahao.
Lieutenant General (Lt-Gen) Mahao was gunned down in Mokema, Maseru by soldiers then under Kamoli’s command.
Kamoli is currently on trial for Lt-Gen Mahao’s murder alongside Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Captain Haleo Makara, Sergeant Lekhooa Moepi, Sergeant Motsamai Fako, Corporal Marasi ‘Moleli, Corporal Motšoane Machai, Corporal Mohlalefi Seitlheko and Corporal Tšitso Ramoholi.
The nine are also accused of the attempted murder of Lt-Gen Mahao’s nephews, Mahao Mahao and Mabilikoe Leuta, by shooting inside a vehicle in which they were passengers.
They are accused of damaging Lt-Gen Mahao’s vehicle, a white Nissan half-truck, by firing at it with an automatic rifle.
Lt-Gen Kamoli is further accused of the theft of Lt-Gen Mahao’s 9mm pistol and Samsung Galaxy mobile phone.
Mr Monaheng retired from the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) in 2019. He was acting police boss when Lt-Gen Mahao was shot dead by his colleagues in 2015. He is the sixth witness in the ongoing trial before Judge Charles Hungwe.
In his testimony on Wednesday, Mr Monaheng stated that he reported to Mr Moleleki that Kamoli refused to cooperate with him in the investigations into Lt-Gen Mahao’s murder.
In his cross-examination, Adv Molati accused the former policeman of lying to the court.
“I put it to you that Mr Moleleki will not come to this court and corroborate your claims that Kamoli was not cooperating with you when you were still the acting police commissioner,” Adv Molati said.
The lawyer also put it to Mr Monaheng that he did not write a police statement that is being attributed to him.
Adv Molati described the statement as a “false document” that was “cooked” by the government to implicate his client in Lt-Gen Mahao’s murder.
He accused Mr Monaheng of falsely claiming that his statement was recorded by the police.
He said the statement did not appear like one written by a police officer. For instance, it does not bear the name of the officer who recorded it. Neither does it contain the said officer’s employment number, Adv Molati argued.
He also argued that the statement in question has headings, which are not typical of police documents.
“This document was not written by a member of the LMPS. Police officers don’t write headings when taking witness statements, like those shown is this statement. Also, junior police officers don’t take statements from their seniors.
“The statement before you does not show the officer who took it. That statement is a false document that was cooked, but not by you,” he said.
In response, Mr Monaheng denied allegations that his statement was not taken by the police. He insisted that his statement was recorded by one of his colleagues.
Mr Monaheng said in some instances officers of lower ranks recorded statements from their seniors.
“A senior police officer can write his own statement. That is optional. Also, officers write headings on each page when taking statements if they deem it necessary,” Mr Monaheng said.
He insisted that he informed Mr Moleleki when Kamoli was not cooperating with police on investigations into Lt-Gen Mahao’s murder.
A fortnight ago, Mr Monaheng asked that some parts in his statement be deleted as they did not really reflect what he had said. He was referring to a paragraph which quoted him as saying Kamoli was used by politicians.
Kamoli and his co-accused have denied murdering Lt-Gen Mahao. They claim that he was shot and killed while resisting lawful arrest for allegedly leading a mutiny against Kamoli who had been restored to the army command by the then Pakalitha Mosisili-led seven parties’ coalition in early 2015.