Tempers flare at Mosito trial

Tempers flare at Mosito trial

Leisa Leisanyane

MASERU – TEMPERS flared yesterday at a local hotel where the impeachment trial of embattled Court of Appeal President Justice Kananelo Mosito was being held.

Drama ensued in the trial room when papers from the Lesotho Revenue Authority, which has accused Justice Mosito of violating tax regulations, were supposed to be submitted.

Justice Mosito and his defence team refused, but somehow the papers ended up being handed to the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Frederick Daniel Brand.

The defence team strongly protested the decision to hand over the papers to crown counsel, Advocate Guido Penzhorn.

There was noise from the defence side and murmurs of protest from a group of lawyers who had come to observe the proceedings.

The trial was adjourned for a few minutes, supposedly to give the legal some time to cool off.

During the adjournment, there seemed to be a plot by the defendants to get back the papers and this time lawyers in the crowd had now joined in.

When proceedings resumed one lawyer tried to go to the crown counsel to snatch the papers, which he refused with.

It was at this point where Penzhorn told Justice Brand that he feared for his life and therefore did not want to take the papers.

Defence lawyer Advocate Monaheng Rasekoai told the tribunal that he was now resorting to exercising his right to use his native language and he started speaking in Sesotho.

That is when Justice Brand asked Rasekoai if his client agreed with what was happening.

The chairman asked Justice Mosito if he realised that what his counsel was doing was likely to challenge his credibility to sit on the bench because he had caused confusion.

At this juncture, Justice Mosito burst out and shouted “Nonsense!”

Justice Mosito left the room and his team of lawyers followed him.

The LRA papers that caused this mayhem were given to a police inspector with instructions to bring them to the proceedings today.

Rasekoai spoke on record that they wanted Basotho to know that the tribunal was unfair.

Justice Mosito is facing impeachment after the crown charged him with failure to submit his income tax returns for the periods 1996 to 2014.

On October 8, 2015 Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili informed Justice Mosito of his intention to ask the King to appoint a tribunal to investigate his removal from office.

This led to a series of challenges by Justice Mosito.

His own court, the Court of Appeal, dismissed some of his applications and the Constitutional Court’s decision in June this year paved the way for his impeachment proceedings.

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