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Audit boss takes on DCEO



MASERU – THE Constitutional Court will today hear a case in which a suspended Director of Internal Audit in the Ministry of Finance is challenging the seizure of her vehicle by the anti-corruption unit. ’Mahelena Lephoto has taken the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to the High Court.
She wants the court to declare section 98 of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act is unconstitutional.
The DCEO seized her car saying she could have bought it with money she acquired fraudulently.

Through her lawyer Attorney Moeketsi Ramapai, Lephoto has asked the court that a criminal trial conducted by the magistrate Lerato Ntelane be stayed pending finalisation of her constitutional case.
Other respondents are the Minister of Law and Constitutional Affairs, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Attorney General and the Clerk of Court Maseru Magistrate Court.
Lephoto also wants Ntelane to be directed by the court to furnish written reasons for her refusal to refer the matter to the High Court sitting as a constitutional panel.
Lephoto has also asked the court to declare that Ntelane’s failure to render written reasons for her refusal to refer the matter to the High Court sitting as a constitutional panel violates her right to a fair trial.

She also argued that it be declared that the three-year delay in the formulation of charges and the failure to prosecute her violates the constitution.
Lephoto has been in the civil service since 1987. She holds a Bachelors of Commerce Degree and a Master of Social Sciences in Accounting and Development Finance which she respectively attained from the National University of Lesotho and the University of Birmingham.

“I currently hold the portfolio of Director – Internal Audit and I have been on suspension for the past five years,” she said.
Lephoto informed the court that sometime in 2012 on November 8 she was suspended from duty on allegations of some misconduct.
“Following my suspension, there was an endeavour on the part of my principals to have me hauled before a disciplinary panel but l became proactive by launching a constitutional attack and this court ruled in my favour,” she told the court.

Regrettably, she said she launched the case sometime in January 2013 but judgement was only rendered a year later in December 2014.
She said the delay in the delivery of a judgement in the case is significant factor.
“It is significant to indicate that when investigations regarding my alleged criminal conduct commenced, I was investigated by a South African Private Company specialising in forensic investigations under the name and style of NEXUS Forensic Services Pty Ltd,” Lephoto said.

She said the company issued a report which on the face of it is a draft.
“I aver that I have not received a final report of the relevant forensic report,” Lephoto said.
She said the court ruled that the company had violated her constitutional right to a fair trial and the judgment was never appealed against.

“This judgment played an instrumental role in aborting my prospective disciplinary hearing and I am advised that it is unlawful for me to be on suspension for this inordinate period of time and I am supposed to have been long reinstated to my position,” she said.
She says upon closer look, “the court shall readily observe that the basis of my criminal case borders entirely on the report which was issued” by this company.

“This I say because all the witnesses who were interviewed by the relevant company as shown in the relevant report are also witnesses in my criminal trial,” she said.
“To be specific, a lady who was under the employ of the very company which investigated me, one Cornelia Cornelissen Engelbretcht, deposed to an affidavit which makes adverse findings against me in spite of the ruling against her company in the above-cited judgment.”

She also said the car dealer from whom she is alleged to have bought a car which is a product of bribery, one AA Ajameer, “has evenly deposed to an affidavit which is geared towards evenly making adverse findings against me”.
“The picture of a man whom I am alleged to have had a corrupt relationship is equally the same one which is captioned in the same report of a company of which a verdict of its conflicted role was made,” she said.

“This picture was presented to the car dealer by the agents of the relevant forensic company as borne out by the contents of his very own affidavit.
In his answering affidavit, the DCEO Director General Advocate Borotho Matsoso said they deny that the appellant is entitled to any of the reliefs sought.
“We contend that this application is legally and factually unfounded as we will hereunder show,” he said.

He told the court that the application is defective at its root.
Adv Borotho argued that the main relief sought does not in any way raise a constitutional issue for determination by the court.
He also argued that the main relief is an issue for appeal.
“On the basis of the foregoing, this court lacks jurisdiction to entertain this application,” Adv Borotho said.

Staff Reporter

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Doctor tampers with corpse



THE Mokhotlong Government Hospital has agreed to pay M200 000 as compensation to the husband of a deceased patient after a doctor unlawfully tampered with the corpse.

There is a deed of settlement between the hospital and Jacob Palime, the deceased woman’s husband.

Jacob Palime rushed to the High Court in Tšifa-li-Mali last year after the hospital failed to explain why the doctor had tampered with his wife’s corpse at a private mortuary behind his back.

His wife’s body had been taken to the Lesotho Funeral Services.
Palime lives in Phahameng in Mokhotlong.

In his court papers, Palime was demanding M500 000 in compensation from the hospital “for unlawful invasion, intrusion and interference with” his rituals and rights over his dead wife.

He informed the court that his wife died in September 2020 at Mokhotlong Hospital.

“All requisite documentation pertaining to her release to Lesotho Funeral Services were effected and ultimately the deceased was accordingly transferred to the mortuary,” Palime said.

The court heard that Palime’s family was subsequently informed about the wife’s death.

The family however learnt that one doctor, acting in his professional capacity, went to the mortuary the next day and tampered with the corpse.

The doctor subsequently conducted certain tests on the corpse without the knowledge of family members.

Palime said their attempts to get an explanation from the hospital as to the purpose of the tests and the name of the doctor had failed to yield results.

“It remained questionable and therefore incomprehensible as to what actually was the purpose or rationale behind conducting such anonymous and secret tests,” he said.

Palime told the court that the whole thing left him “in an unsettled state of mind for a long time”.

He said his family, which has its traditions and culture rooted in the respect for their departed loved ones, regards and considers Mokhotlong Hospital’s conduct as an unlawful invasion, intrusion and interference with his rituals and rights over his deceased spouse.

“This is more-so because the hospital had all the opportunity to have conducted any or such alleged tests immediately upon demise of the deceased while still within its area of jurisdiction and not after her release to the mortuary,” he said.

Palime said despite incessant demands, the hospital has failed, refused, ignored and neglected to cooperate with him “to amicably solve this unwarranted state of affairs”.

Palime told the court that there were no claims against the Lesotho Funeral Service as they had cooperated and compensated him for wrongly allowing the doctor to perform tests on the corpse without knowledge or presence of one of the family members.

’Malimpho Majoro

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Villagers whipped as police seize guns



Dozens of villagers in Ha-Rammeleke in Khubelu, Mokhotlong, were on Monday night rounded up and beaten with sticks and whips by the police during an operation to seize illegal guns.

The villagers told thepost that they heard one man crying out for help saying his wife was sick. And when they rushed to his house, they found the police waiting for them.

The police had stormed the man’s house and ordered him to “cry for help” to lure men from the village.

The men and women were then frog-marched outside the village where the police assaulted the men with sticks, whips, and kicked them.

One man said when he arrived at the house, he found other villagers who were now surrounded by armed police.

“At first I thought they were soldiers but later picked up that they were SOU (Special Operations Unit) members,” he said.

He said they were subjected to severe torture.

“They beat us with sticks at the same time demanding guns from us,” he said.

The police and soldiers also raided other nearby villages in Khubelu area but in Ha-Rammeleke villagers say they identified only police from the Special Operations Unit (SOU).

Several villagers who spoke to thepost asked for anonymity for fear of retribution.

This was the second time within a month that the security forces have raided the villages in search of illegal guns after a spate of gory murders in the areas.

The murders are perpetrated by famo music gangs who are fighting over illegal gold mining in South Africa.

The first raid was on Wednesday preceding Good Friday.

Villagers say a group of armed soldiers stormed the place in the wee hours collecting almost every one to the chief’s place.

“We were woken-up by young soldiers who drove us to the chief’s place,” one resident of Ha-Rammeleke said.

When they arrived at the chief’s home all hell broke loose.

A woman told thepost that they were split into two groups of women and men.

Later, women were further split into two groups of the elderly and younger ones.

She said the security officers assaulted the men while ordering the elderly women to ululate.

Young women were ordered to run around the place like they were exercising.

She said the men were pushed into a small hut where they were subjected to further torture.

A man who was among the victims said the army said they should produce the guns and help them identify the illegal miners.

He said this happened after one man in their village was fatally shot by five unknown men in broad daylight.

He said the men who killed the fellow villager had their faces covered with balaclavas and they could not see who they were.


The villagers chased them but they could not get close to them because they were armed with guns.

“We were armed with stones while those men were armed with guns,” he said.

“They fired a volley of bullets at us and we retreated,” he said.

The murdered man was later collected by the police.

The army spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Sakeng Lekola, confirmed that soldiers stormed Khubelu area in response to the rampant lawlessness of unlicensed guns.

Lt Col Lekola said their presence in the area followed two incidents of shootings where one man was fatally shot and a child sustained serious gunshot wounds.

“There were reports everywhere, even on the radios, that things were out of hand in Khubelu,” he said.

He said in just a day they managed to collect six guns that were in wrong hands together with more than 100 rounds (bullets) in an operation dubbed Deuteronomy 17.

These bullets included 23 rounds of Galil rifle.

Lt Col Lekola maintained that their operation was successful because they managed to collect guns from wrong hands.

He said they are doing this in line with the African Union principle of ‘silencing the guns’.

He said it is an undeniable fact that statistics of people killed with guns is disturbing.

“We appeal to these people to produce these unlicensed guns,” Lt Col Lekola said.

Lt Col Lekola said they could not just watch Basotho helplessly as they suffered.

He said some people are seen just flaunting their guns.

“They fear no one,” he said.

Police spokesman, Senior Superintendent Kabelo Halahala, said he was aware of the operation in Mokhotlong but did not have further details.

Majara Molupe

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Magistrate saves WILSA boss



A Maseru magistrate, Nthabiseng Moopisa, this week stayed the criminal prosecution of Advocate ’Mamosa Mohlabula who is accused of tax evasion, money laundering and corruption.

In her application Advocate Mohlabula, who is the director of Women and Law in Southern Africa (WILSA), said the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) should not charge her pending finalisation of her tax evasion case.

Advocate Mohlabula is out on bail after she was formally charged with tax evasion in July last year.

She told Magistrate Moopisa that the DPP, Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane, was wrong to have agreed with the Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to bring charges against her.

“In my viewpoint, the DCEO cannot be heard to charge me in relation to matters already seized with this Honourable Court,” she said in an affidavit.

She also said there is a pending civil case in the High Court in which the DCEO’s abuse of power is referenced, saying the precise way the case is handled will depend “on the way an alleged offence comes to the light”.

“Before that pending case is finalised, DCEO has no jurisdiction to detail me to court over isolated phenomenon of tax evasion and or over grievances of former employees of WILSA,” she said.

Advocate Mohlabula was charged together with the WILSA’s chief accounting officer.

She argued that it was WILSA that was being investigated, not individuals, further saying that was “a significant safeguard that the DCEO was impartial from an objective viewpoint”.

“To exclude any legitimate doubt in this respect the DCEO returned the items it seized from WILSA,” she said.

“This was a realistic and practical step towards administering justice and to avoid premature embarrassment to the management of WILSA.”

She said the Board of Trustees of WILSA were sent briefing notes which in certain respects reflected that the DCEO returned the properties of WILSA without warning them that they were suspects.

“In any event, we proceeded to fashion our arguments before the High Court. There was, and could be, no evidence to back up the decision of the DCEO to apply for the search warrant,” she said.

Advocate Mohlabula said before they took the matter to the High Court, she cooperated with the DCEO and it conducted an inquiry into the alleged crimes.

“Now that the matter is pending before the High Court, there is no more reason for the DCEO to remand me before the pending cases are finalised,” she said.

Staff Reporter

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