‘Soldier not at barracks when Motšomotšo was shot’

‘Soldier not at barracks when Motšomotšo was shot’

MASERU – ADVOCATE Karabo Mohau KC says Major Pitso Ramoepane, who is being charged with mutiny, was not at Ratjomose Barracks when army boss Lt Gen Khoantle Motšomotšo was assassinated. Ramoepane, a Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) officer, is facing charges of killing the army commander on September 5 last year.
He is denying the charge.

Cross examining the second prosecution witness in the murder case, Sergeant Hashe, Mohau sought to show that Major Ramoepane was not at Ratjomose Barracks when his boss was killed.
Sergeant Hashe said when Motšomotšo was killed he was at the police headquarters to process a firearm licence.
He told the court it was a common practice for Major Ramoepane to come to the Ministry of Defence to get daily updates from him.
He said he usually came to the Ministry of Defence during the morning hours.

Sergeant Hashe told the court that if for any reason Major Ramoepane was not coming, he would communicate that with him telephonically.
Major Ramoepane was stationed at Ratjomose Barracks while Sergeant Hashe was deployed at the Ministry of Defence.
Sergeant Hashe said on September 5 at around 8.30am, he called Major Ramoepane to check on his whereabouts because it was uncommon for him not to report to the ministry on time.
Last week, Mohau asked Sergeant Hashe during cross-examination where Major Ramoepane was on September 5, 2017.

Mohau said he had requested call records from mobile telecommunications company, Vodacom Lesotho, on the date of the assassination.
He said the records from Vodacom Lesotho showed that Major Ramoepane was not at Ratjomose Barracks on that date.
He said the records showed that he was at the Military Intelligence in his office of Counter Intelligence, where he took annual reports from Sergeant Hashe in the Ministry of Defence.
“I put it to you that on the 5th September, around 8am you did not call Major Ramoepane like you stipulated before this court but you called at 7:17am,” he said.
The court heard that Major Ramoepane had called Sergeant Hashe to get reports.

The prosecution counsel, Advocate Thulo Hoeane, objected saying the records Mohau had brought from Vodacom Lesotho were prejudicing the witness.
Hoeane said the records were bombastic and too technical to be understood by an ordinary man like Sergeant Hashe.
However, Justice Mathanzima Maqutu ruled in favour of Mohau.

The judge said “the document is not essential now but it is going to help in the nearest future”.
Mohau put it to Sergeant Hashe that Major Ramoepane last received the call on that day at 8:39am and at 8:30am he was already out of his office going to the MI offices.
Sergeant Hashe said Major Ramoepane had no office at the MI, which Mohau said was bizarre as all heads of offices had their own offices.

Sergeant Hashe told the court that when he informed Major Ramoepane that he was going to the police headquarters, he received further instructions.
He said he was going to the police on personal business as he wanted to process a licence for his private firearm.
Sergeant Hashe said Major Ramoepane instructed him to find out through his juniors the whereabouts of three soldiers who were accused of killing a woman near the home of former commander Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli.

The three soldiers, who guarded Lt Gen Kamoli’s home, had been instructed to hand themselves over to the police for questioning.
These three Special Forces members were Corporal Sebolai, Private Matsoso and Private Ratšiu.
Two senior army officers, Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi, are alleged to have shot dead Lt Gen Motšomotšo on September 5.
The government says the two were not happy with Lt Gen Motšomotšo after he decided to hand over some soldiers to the police.
The trial continues.

Senate Sekotlo

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