Two file case to block prosecution

Two file case to block prosecution

MASERU – TWO of the five suspects accused of receiving bribes from people who wanted the government to hire their vehicles have filed a Constitutional case to block their prosecution.
Teboho Tlokosi and Tumo Ramonaheng, who are said to have been the ringleaders of the syndicate, want their prosecution in the Magistrate’s court stopped and their remand suspended until the constitutional court finalises their case.

They also want the court to declare the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision to charge them to be set aside on “grounds of being irrational and or unlawful”.
They were charged together with former minister Likeleli Tampane (MP), principal secretary of Finance Motena Ts’olo and Mafusi Mosamo, a senior finance official.
The duo argues that it was illegal for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and its chairman Selibe Mochoboroane to summon the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offices (DCEO) to give evidence on the investigation into their alleged crimes before they were charged.

They argue that the PAC has no authority to “interrogate and or probe issues that have to do with criminal investigations” of the DECO or “interfere” with the powers of the DPP.
They say Thabiso Thibeli, the suspended chief investigator of the DCEO who investigated their case, should not have testified before the committee because he has a pending case against the DCEO and is not allowed to reveal details of his investigation to anyone.

The five were charged with corruption after the PAC summoned the DCEO and the DPP to explain why their case was not in court despite investigations being completed.
This was after Thibeli had alleged, before the same committee, that DCEO boss Mahlomola Manyokole suspended him to frustrate the case.
Thibeli alleged that Manyokole was trying to protect some of the suspects who are his friends.
Manyokole denied the allegations and said the DPP had taken the docket to review the case.

The DPP however told the committee that it had returned the docket to the DCEO with a directive to proceed with the trial.
It is those testimonies before the committee that form the crux of Tlokosi’s and Ramonaheng’s constitutional case.
In his affidavit Tlokosi argues that the PAC overstepped its mandate by summoning the DPP and DCEO.

He says the testimonies of the two organisations about their case were a subject of sensational media coverage.
“There is clearly no guarantee that my criminal trial will be conducted freely and fairly in circumstances where the functionaries responsible for investigation of criminal offences and one who operates as a prosecuting authority are hauled before parliament to explain themselves why I may not be prosecuted and a few days later I appear before court and duly prosecuted by the agents of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Office,” Tlokosi says.

“I have been subjected to the court of public opinion by the relevant committee and I have been advised that the relevant committee acted illegally by seeking information from a suspended official of Directorate on Corruption and Economic Office who divulged confidential and privileged information pertaining to the investigations which have to do with my alleged criminal conduct.”

“I aver that this was utterly wrong and legally reprehensible and for this reason the relevant official ought to be disciplined. He is effectively in breach of his oath of office and the very fact that he was on suspension served as a legal impediment for him to discuss the modalities and inner workings of the delicate institution.”
Tlokosi argues that the role of the PAC is restricted to accounts and financials of government institutions.
Mochoboroane, he says, does not have the power to summon or instruct the DCEO to investigate anyone and the DPP to charge suspects.

Staff Reporter

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