Kamoli speaks

Kamoli speaks

MASERU – Former army boss Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli’s battle for bail is turning out to be a sneak peek into how he is likely to defend himself against the 14 attempted murder charges he faces.  In his replying affidavit on the bail application the state is strongly opposing Lt General Kamoli gives his first public response to the allegations that he instructed eight soldiers to bomb three houses in January 2014.

His statements help to slightly lift the veil on what could have happened on that night when bombs, allegedly planted by soldiers at his instruction, ripped through the house of former police commissioner Khothatso Tšooana, Liabiloe Ramoholi (now First Lady ’Maesaia Thabane) and her neighbour.

Lt General Kamoli says Tšooana should reveal where he was, with whom he was and what he was doing when his house was bombed.
Lt General Kamoli accuses Tšooana of concealing evidence of “any other information which may cause him embarrassment and probably even disciplinary or criminal prosecution”.

Lt General Kamoli tells the court that the allegations that he ordered junior officers to attack or threaten Ramoholi are false.
He denies that he ordered the soldiers to attack Tšooana. Lt General Kamoli was responding to the investigating officer Senior Inspector Makhariele’s affidavit the prosecution is trying to use to persuade the High Court to deny him bail.
Lt General Kamoli said the same weapons allegedly used in the commission of the alleged offences were under Tšooana’s custody.

“It is denied that I ordered or instructed junior officers to attack or threaten Ramoholi and Tšooana,” Lt General Kamoli says.
“It is denied that I authorised access and use of weapons against Ramoholi and Tšooana.”
Makhariele said it is important to “mention that no one could access or use such weapons without the authorisation of (Kamoli)”.
Lt General Kamoli also said Tšooana refused when Thabane ordered that the police, army, National Security Service (NSS) and the Lesotho Correctional Service have a joint investigation of the bombings.

But Makhariele said “it is incorrect to say that the Prime Minister ordered any joint investigations”.
He said it was Lt General Kamoli himself who suggested that at the crime scene and informed Tšooana that he was expected to attend the meeting scheduled for 2pm.

The former commander even denies that the army was involved in the bombings.
“Until and till I get proof I refuse to believe that the army was involved,” he says.
“What is clear is that the then commissioner of police then worked hard and succeeded to conceal evidence of where he was?”
To his affidavit Makhariele attached a letter in which Tšooana was requesting Lt Gen Kamoli to release eight soldiers to the police for questioning in connection with the bombings.

However, Lt General Kamoli’s response to this is that the letter “is not the same as the one I received”.
“The classification is different from the letter that l received. I did not send the soldiers due to the type of classification that appeared in the letter.”
He also says he did not send the soldiers because he feared that police might torture them. He says his decision was based on legal advice.
Lt General Kamoli claims he agreed that the soldiers should appear in court but they were never charged. He says the army sent a delegation of officers to meet a police team at police headquarters to negotiate that the suspects should be taken straight to court instead of being interrogated.
“At the time the suspects were being seriously tortured.”

He alleges that one of those suspects, Corporal Mokhesuoe had “in the recent past as at that time been tortured severely by police such that there was genuine fear that the police would torture them again”. Makhariele said Tšooana sent the then Deputy Commissioner of Police Masupha Masupha to attend the meeting as he had a doctor’s appointment.
He said Masupha later reported to Tšooana but refused to talk to him because he was not the commissioner.
Makhariele said Tšooana “later realised that the army was heavily involved in the crime” and its presence “was going to hamper progress of the investigations”.

Makhariele said Tšoaoana felt the need to exclude the army because he is the “one vested with the investigatory powers”.
He noted that even if it is assumed that the Prime Minister ordered that the investigation team includes the police, the security services and the army, “the commissioner could decide otherwise as the person who is vested with investigatory powers”.

Makhariele also told the court that there will be evidence that Lt General Kamoli “did actually plan and conspire to kill” Sub Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko during the military raid at the police Head Office in August 2014. “Evidence will show that he gave orders for the operation to be carried out.”  But Lt General Kamoli says there were no orders given to kill Ramahloko or anyone.

Majara Molupe

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