Kamoli is a flight risk, says DPP

Kamoli is a flight risk, says DPP

MASERU – Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli’s fresh bid for freedom received a serious blow on Monday after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Hlalefang Motinyane, fiercely opposed his bail application.
In a stinging affidavit, Motinyane told High Court judge Justice Molefi Makara that Lt Gen Kamoli will likely flee Lesotho if he is granted bail.
“It is my considered view that the Petitioner (Lt Gen Kamoli) will abscond and not stand trial due to the seriousness of the offence he is facing,” Motinyane said.
Motinyane argued that it will not be in the best interests of justice if Lt Gen Kamoli is released on bail before the conclusion of all his pending criminal trials.

She said Lt Gen Kamoli is facing serious offences which will attract a custodial sentence if he is convicted.
Lt Gen Kamoli together with several other soldiers is facing a charge of murder following the killing of Lt Gen Maaparankoe Mahao on June 25, 2015. The army said Mahao was killed after he resisted arrest, an assertion that was dismissed by a SADC commission of inquiry.
He also faces 14 counts of attempted murder in connection with the bombing of homes in Moshoeshoe II in Maseru.
Lt Gen Kamoli is also accused of having a hand in the killing of police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko when the army, which was under his command, raided police stations on the night of August 30, 2014.
The government says the raid was an attempted coup.

Motinyane said in considering Lt Gen Kamoli’s bail application, the court should also remember that Lt Gen Kamoli refused to vacate office after he was procedurally fired by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane in August 2014.
She argued that Lt Gen Kamoli and his 42-co-accused soldiers had deliberately delayed the trial after they challenged the appointment of foreign judges to hear their case.
“The trial is ripe for hearing and all the witnesses are ready to testify so as to dispose of the matter,” Motinyane said.
“Counsel handling the matter is ready and willing to put everything aside and prosecute the matter to finality.”
“There was widespread perception that local judges would not be independent or impartial in dealing with the people implicated by the Phumaphi Commission findings and that necessitated the government of Lesotho to approach SADC to source judges from other jurisdictions.”

She said before SADC could be approached, the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) met and discussed the issue which was endorsed by the Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara before she was suspended.
She said all the lawyers representing the implicated soldiers including Lt Gen Kamoli were always informed about the developments of the recruitment of foreign judges and did not oppose the move.
On Lt Gen Kamoli’s claim that he is sick and therefore should be granted bail on medical conditions, Motinyane argued that the former army boss had “failed to attach a medical report or his booklet to establish his alleged illness, if any, and to enable the court to gain clear understanding of the reality of what he is talking about”.
Motinyane added that Lt Gen Kamoli had failed to establish exceptional circumstances as required by the law.
“Another consideration to bear in mind is the court’s desire to reduce the risk of threats to potential witnesses, (Lt Gen Kamoli) has already been served with the witness statements from the police through his lawyer and is aware of all the witnesses who are going to testify against him,” she said.

She said if the court grants Lt Gen Kamoli bail, there is likelihood that he will tamper or intimidate the witnesses or interfere with the evidence and cause such evidence to be suppressed due to his relationship with some of the witnesses who are members of the LDF.
“I verily aver that (Lt Gen Kamoli) has hopelessly failed to make out a case to be admitted on bail as required by the law and as such this petition must be dismissed,” she said.
In his bail application, Lt Gen Kamoli had pleaded with the court to release him on medical grounds.
He said he would comply with his bail conditions if released. He also said he would report to the police headquarters on the days of remand between 6am and 6pm.

He promised not to interfere with the crown witnesses and to stand trial and attend remands.
His lawyer, Advocate Letuka Molati, argued that his client has a heavy family responsibility on his shoulders and was not only a breadwinner but takes care of even members of the extended family.
“There are also other children who are not earning a living but depend on my client’s shoulder who are minors,” Molati said.
He said Lt Gen Kamoli supports all from his pension which he got prior to statutory retirement age.
He further said Lt Gen Kamoli had shown that he was prepared to face his trial.
“It is clearly established by circumstances leading to his detention and remand that he is willing to await his trial,” Molati said.

“He presented himself to the police. He has not at any one occasion been uncooperative. This fact shows that he considers himself innocent,” he said.
Molati argued that the prosecution is not ready to prosecute Lt Gen Kamoli’s cases because of the backlog of criminal cases in the courts.
He said the DPP’s office is overwhelmed with such cases and the date of Lt Gen Kamoli’s trial has not yet been set.
“This prospect of a lengthy prison stay without the case being commenced constitutes additional exceptional circumstances on which he should be released on bail,” he said.
He also asked the court to grant Lt Gen Kamoli bail because “the prison conditions wherein he is awaiting trial are not conducive for his health, which can deteriorate very quickly in, amongst others, the cold environment”.
Molati said Lt Gen “wishes to live to see out his trial and clear his name.”

Itumeleng Khoete

 

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