Mahao sues newspaper

Mahao sues newspaper

MASERU-JUSTICE Minister Professor Nqosa Mahao is suing the Assistant Commissioner of Police Motlatsi Mapola and the Sunday Express newspaper for defamation.

Mahao is claiming M3 million as compensatory damages for defamation.
In court papers filed in court last Friday, Mahao says the story which was carried in the Sunday Express headlined, Mapola leaps to Thabane’s defence, was defamatory.

Mahao complains that the newspaper depicted him as having “actively anchored and led a political faction that deliberately and falsely implicated former Prime Minister Tom Thabane in Lipolelo Thabane’s (his late wife) murder for political gain”.

He also said the newspaper said he “abused Commissioner Holomo Molibeli and used his institutional clout as head of (the police) to stage a fabricated case of murder against the erstwhile, and or, former Prime Minister Thabane”.

He also accuses the newspaper of depicting him as having “falsified an Inter-Ministerial Commission of Enquiry whose mandate was that of probing into the instability in the police force and endeavoured to protect and or issue a biased report that favoured Commissioner Holomo Molibeli”.

He complains that Mapola and the newspaper article had lowered his esteem in the eyes of the public when it portrayed him as a politically ambitious person who would abuse his authority for personal and political gain.

He said the publication by the Sunday Express from “malicious utterances staged by (Mapola) has the effect of portraying (him) as a liar, a manipulator and a politician that abuses his public office for both personal and political gain”.
He said he has been depicted “as both irresponsible and of low moral character”.

He said the publication “attracted grave prejudice to (his) long-standing professional reputation both as an academic of note and career politician”.
The story was published the week of January 17-23, 2021.
In the story, ACP Mapola rejected allegations that Thabane was involved in his wife’s murder.

ACP Mapola, according to the newspaper, also rejected Commissioner Molibeli’s claims that Thabane’s phone was used in his wife’s murder.
It also said the allegations were fabricated by the pro-Mahao faction in collaboration with Commissioner Molibeli.

ACP Mapola is reported in the newspaper to have said the Mahao faction of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) found a willing tool in Commissioner Molibeli who latched onto the fabrications because he was desperate to save himself from Thabane who wanted to fire him.

The newspaper said ACP Mapola insisted that Commissioner Molibeli and the Mahao faction joined forces to fabricate the allegations to force Thabane out of office.

Thabane, together with his new wife ’Maesaiah Thabane, has since been charged with the murder of Lipolelo but the proceedings of his case were halted when he approached the High Court with a legal question of whether he could be charged while he was still a serving prime minister.
Even after the Mahao faction won the political battle to push Thabane out of office, his case is yet to be heard in court.

Staff Reporter

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