Lawyer quizzed over ‘stolen’ cash

Lawyer quizzed over ‘stolen’ cash

MASERU – TOP lawyer, Advocate Zwelakhe Mda KC, was on Monday forced to go to his bank to withdraw money his client had paid him allegedly because the money was stolen.
Advocate Mda was taken in for interrogation at the police headquarters in Maseru after his client, one Mahlomola Mokonyana, allegedly paid him with stolen money.
The police demanded some money amounting to M41 000 that was in Advocate Mda’s custodianship.
But they were only able to get back M21 000 from Advocate Mda.

Police spokesman, Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli, said Advocate Mda was not arrested but was merely quizzed about the money because the police investigations led them to him.
“The police said they wanted M40 000 but Advocate Mda said he only knew about M21 000,” Superintendent Mopeli said.
Mokonyana was already in police custody when Advocate Mda was taken in for interrogation, after his client told the police that the money was with him.
Last night, Advocate Mda said he was preparing to take legal action against the police.
“I am making preparations now to take action,” he said.

He said the police should stay in their lane instead of overlapping in theirs.
Meanwhile, the Law Society of Lesotho was drafting papers yesterday to challenge the police’s action in the High Court.
The Law Society president, Advocate Mosoeunyane Masiphole, said the police have “a new tendency of embarrassing legal practitioners for no reason”.
Adv Masiphole said Advocate Mda’s client is suspected of a crime of robbery.

While interrogated by the police, Mokonyana said some of the money under investigation was deposited into Advocate Mda’s account in Mafeteng.
So Advocate Mda was picked up by the police over the matter.
Advocate Masiphole said upon his arrival at the police, Advocate Mda was accompanied by his lawyer Advocate Motiea Teele KC.
He said Advocate Mda told the police that the M21 000 paid to him was for professional fees.

“Police say the suspect said he left M40 000 with Advocate Mda, contrary to Advocate Mda’s statement that the money was only M21 000,” Advocate Masiphole said.
He said Advocate Mda had filed two cases in court on behalf of Mokonyana, one was a habeas corpus case seeking an order for the police to produce Mokonyana alive or dead as his detention time had already lapsed.

He said Advocate Mda then moved another application for review of the police’s application for further detention of Mokonyana.
Advocate Masiphole said the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act says a suspect can be detained for only 48 hours.
He said after receiving the habeas corpus case, the police then applied for a further detention of the suspect without stating the exact time Mokonyana would spend in their hands.
He said Mokonyana had been assaulted badly by the police.

He said the suspect stripped off for the court to see bruises on his body but the magistrate ignored that.
Advocate Masiphole said the police could not believe Advocate Mda’s explanation but were inclined to believe the explanation given by the suspect.
He said Advocate Mda then had to go to the bank to withdraw the money since police were threatening to arrest him.
The Law Society council met and discussed at length the matter of lawyers being embarrassed by the police, Advocate Masiphole said.
“This is not the first incident,” he said.

Advocate Masiphole recalled that on January 15, Advocate Rethabile Setlojoane was called to the police regarding matters of his wanted client, First Lady ’Maesaiah Thabane.
“This is harassment that we will not tolerate no matter what,” he said.
Advocate Setlojoane was summoned by the police to shed a light on the disappearance of the First Lady who is wanted by police over the death of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s estranged wife Lipolelo Thabane.
’Maesaiah was summoned by the police but never availed herself.
She is still on the run.

Nkheli Liphoto

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