Kamoli fights for bail

Kamoli fights for bail

MASERU – AN attempt to have Prime Minister Thomas Thabane cross-examined in Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli’s bail application flopped on Tuesday.
Thabane, Public Service Minister Thesele ’Maseribane, former police commissioner who is now principal secretary Khothatso Tšooana and former minister Molobeli Soulo were subpoenaed to testify for Lt Gen Kamoli.

Lt Gen Kamoli is facing 14 charges of attempted murder after he allegedly ordered the houses of Tšooana and Thabane’s then girlfriend Liabiloe Ramoholi and her neighbour bombed in January 2014. The 14 charges are counted according to the number of people the crown says were in the houses when they were bombed.

Lt Gen Kamoli also faces a charge of murdering Sub Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko when the army which was under his command attacked the police headquarters on August 30, 2014. ’Maseribane and Soulo showed up in court but Thabane and Tšooana were not present.
Lt Gen Kamoli’s lawyer Advocate Letuka Molati was readying for the fight when suddenly Justice Teboho Moiloa released the witnesses saying he had not called them.

’Maseribane’s lawyer Advocate Bereng Makotoko and Thabane’s Attorney Tumisang Mosotho had already told the judge that they were representing them. Lt Gen Kamoli had requested the judge to declare the subpoenaed men as hostile witnesses.
Had Justice Moiloa allowed the oral evidence, Molati was expected to ask Thabane if he had ordered a joint investigation by the police, the army and the National Security Service (NSS) of the January 27, 2014 bombings.

Molati was also expected to ask Thabane to comment on Tšooana’s decision to launch an investigation without involving the NSS and the army.
He also wanted to convince the court that Tšooana was not in his house when it was bombed.
Molati also wanted to convince the court that Lt Gen Kamoli could not have bombed the houses or ordered that they be bombed as claimed by the police.

The judge only allowed the lawyers to state their cases in their heads odd argument.
In his arguments Molati said Lt Gen Kamoli should be granted bail because he is not a flight risk.
Molati argued that Lt Gen Kamoli had enough time to flee after two senior police officers of the ranks of Superintendent and Assistant Commissioner of Police told him to report to the police.

They also told him that he was likely to be charged with serious crimes.
“It was on Monday when the police told him to go to them and even telling him that he was likely to be charged with serious offences,” Molati said.
“He told them that he was far away and could not come on that day but would come on Wednesday, which he did in the company of his lawyer,” he said.

“He could have run away because he had a chance to do so but he did not do that, simply because he wants to stand trial and clear his name,” he said.
Molati said there are no facts that may persuade Lt Gen Kamoli to abscond.
Talking about the charge of attempting to murder Tšooana, Molati said this is a trumped up charge.
“The fact is Tšooana was not inside the house. The charge of attempted murder therefore should fall and perhaps replaced by that of malicious damage to property,” he said.

“There is no likelihood that this man will be convicted of attempting to murder Tšooana.”
Speaking about the charge of killing Ramahloko, Molati argued that Lt Gen Kamoli did not even know of the existence of Ramahloko and therefore “could not have conspired to kill him”.

He said the army was acting on a tip off that the police were keeping arms that were to be given to some members of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) illegally so that they could massacre protestors against the government.
He said Lt Gen Kamoli instructed soldiers to disarm the police and it was during this operation that Ramahloko was shot dead.
“There is no way Lt Gen Kamoli as the commander could have conspired with low ranking soldiers to go and kill a person he did not even know,” Molati said. He said keeping Lt Gen Kamoli in custody is not in the interest of justice because he would be languishing there for months even years before his case is heard.

On the crown’s suggestion that Lt Gen Kamoli’s release would destabilise security in the country, Molati said “there is no way Kamoli can do that alone, he is not the Lesotho Defence Force”. “Your petitioner is just an ordinary Mosotho man, a farmer who lives between Ha-Matala in Maseru and Bobete”. The crown counsel Advocate Haae Phoofolo KC said Lt Gen Kamoli should have told the court exceptional circumstances that apply in cases of murder for him to be granted bail.

Phoofolo said because of the non-existence of the exceptional circumstances the bail should not be granted.
“There are no exceptional circumstances to make the court feel persuaded to grant bail,” Phoofolo said.
He said it is not the crown “with the onus to satisfy the court that such exceptional circumstances exist”.
“Court must exercise special or extra care so that there is no prejudice,” he said, adding that “exceptional circumstances include exceptional illnesses”.
Phoofolo argued that Lt Gen Kamoli cannot claim that he did not run away before he was called to the police because “at that time he did not know the charges he would face”.

“Now he knows what he faces and there is no guarantee that he will not run away,” Phoofolo said.
“Before he was called he was not a suspect, why would he run away? He only became a suspect after he was interviewed,” he said.
Phoolo also argued that Lt Gen Kamoli’s claim that it would take a long time before he is tried is just speculation.
“It is not unusual for a person to remain incarcerated. He is able to renew his bail application,” he said.

Staff Reporter

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