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Mosito condemns ‘smear campaign’



MASERU-Defence Minister, Lekhetho Mosito, says charges that he was unfit to hold office over crimes he allegedly committed while still serving in the army were meant to tarnish his image.
Mosito was appointed defence minister last week.

His appointment has however torched a storm with his colleague in the All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, Tefo Mapesela, alleging he was unfit to hold a ministerial position.
Mapesela alleged in an audio clip that Mosito was fired from the army after he was involved in criminal activities.
He also alleged that Mosito was an ex-convict who was found guilty by a Court Martial for rebellious acts some years ago.

But in a hard-hitting press statement this week, Mosito said the charges by Mapesela were all false and were meant to soil his image in the eyes of the public.
“As an indication that I was never convicted of any military offence or criminal offense, I have been earning my pension benefits for the past 20 years,” Mosito said.
He said back in 1998 he was charged in a civil court on allegations of theft of military guns, a charge which was said he had committed in 1994.

At the time, he was a corporal in the army.
He also said he was arrested and detained for a number of days which ran close to a full month.
“I got released on bail afterwards but my criminal case was never prosecuted and consequently the trial was discontinued for lack of evidence and or non-prosecution,” Mosito said.

He said his charges were not in the military context but were civil and he was acquitted.
This happened over 20 years ago for a crime he allegedly committed six years earlier, he said.
Mosito said the claims against him are “unfounded and fake and plainly clear to point an impression that my appointment is irrational and irresponsible”.

Mosito, the Likhetlane constituency MP, said he has been fending off a barrage of attacks from critics after his appointment last week.
He said the allegations by Mapesela are unfounded and without substance.
Mapesela went on air and on social media platforms last week arguing that Mosito was not a loyal politician.

He lashed out at Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro for appointing Mosito when he had a criminal record for “stealing guns which he used to kill people in Maputsoe”.
Mapesela asked how the army commander would report to someone who was involved in shady deals that involved killing of the people with stolen guns.

Mosito argued that his name and his family have been compromised in the public opinion.
“This regrettable crusade was further compounded by a colleague in the National Assembly and a fellow Cabinet member and comrade from ABC, Mapesela,” he said.

Mosito said Mapesela uttered some remarks on People’s Choice FM on Saturday morning that he is a rebel who was convicted by the Court Martial for military offences.
He said he also saw another video clip which made disparaging remarks about him saying he was convicted by a Court Martial.
He said the attacks did not only compromise his political career but also eroded the little esteem he had gathered over the years, adding that it is both painful and regrettable when one man “Lekhetho Mosito” will be the subject for debate in different media platforms.

“I am being harassed and attacked in my own country,” Mosito said.
Amidst the unsavoury attacks, Mosito said he sought legal intervention from his lawyers in an attempt to clear his name without compromising the esteemed office which he is now holding as a minister.
He condemned what he termed the latest trend in which politicians seek to gain mileage by assassinating others’ characters for the sake of ballots.

Mosito said “the ripple effect of this is that of continued polarisation and fragmentation of the already polarised political climate”.
Mosito was elected MP in 2015.
He said he joined the army in 1979.
He went for early retirement in 2000 after serving the army for two decades.
He retired with the rank of corporal.

Nkheli Liphoto

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Police hunt former minister



THE police have launched a hunt for former police minister, Lepota Sekola, who is suspected of involvement in stock theft.
Police want to arrest Sekola in connection with two cattle carcasses that were found at his grandfather’s funeral in Borokhoaneng three weeks ago.

During the initial interview, Sekola had insisted that the cows belonged to his late grandfather who had kept them in South Africa for better pastures.

The police didn’t arrest him at that time because investigations were still in the early stages. Further investigations have however led the police to believe that the animals were stolen from South Africa.

But when they were ready for the arrest, Sekola could not be found at his home or on his phone.

Police say Sekola will be charged with unlawful possession and illegal importation of two cows from South Africa.

The National Stock Theft Coordinator, Senior Superintendent Mapesela Klaass, told thepost last night that they “have completed investigations but he (Sekola) is nowhere to be seen”.

“We cannot get him on his mobile phones,” S/Supt Klaass said, adding that the police have been “visiting his home but he is not there”.

“His family members are aware that we are looking for him,” he said.

S/Supt Klaass said they are continuing with their search and as soon as they find him, they are going to drag him to the courts.

He said the police suspect the cows were brought from South Africa to be slaughtered for Sekola’s grandfather’s funeral.

Police sources told thepost that one of the cows had new branding while another had nothing. Both had holes on the ears that signalled that they used to have ear tags.

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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Mphaka barred from ABC deputy’s race



THE All Basotho Convention (ABC) has barred former Government Secretary Moahloli Mphaka and three others from contesting for the deputy leader’s position at an elective conference set for this week.
The three are Kefeletsoe Mojela, Katleho Molelle, and Lekhetho Mosito.

Mosito was an MP who was appointed Defence Minister for a day and removed the following day during Dr Moeketsi Majoro’s premiership.
The elective conference is set to be held at the Leqele High School hall this weekend.

A circular from the ABC said the three did not qualify to enter the race because they had not held any positions in the party’s committees.

The decision to bar the three is reminiscent of the same tactics that saw former leader Thomas Thabane block Professor Nqosa Mahao from contesting for the party’s deputy leader’s position.
Professor Mahao subsequently walked away and formed the Basotho Action Party (BAP).

A weakened ABC has never recovered from that split.

Mphaka and his colleagues were vying for the deputy leader’s position until they were stopped in their tracks by the circular which was issued out on Monday this week.
Dr Pinkie Manamolela is the current deputy leader.

She was plucked from the women’s league to replace Dr Majoro who had resigned from the national executive committee after losing the leadership race to Nkaku Kabi in 2022.

There is a high chance that the four could drag the ABC to court to assert their right to contest. The legal wrangles will likely destabilise the party that is still smarting from a thorough thrashing in general elections held in October 2022.

Mphaka this week told thepost that he will challenge the decision to block him in the courts of law.
“They are crazy people,” Mphaka said.

“I will not allow this to happen,” he said.

“I have already instructed my lawyers to launch an urgent application in the High Court to challenge the decision before Friday this week.”

He complained that it was not clear why the party had decided to kick him out of the race after he spent a lot of time and resources campaigning.

Mphaka said the national executive committee “usually allows members to contest for positions without considering whether they were ever in the constituency committees or not”.

The contenders in the race are former Water Minister Samonyane Ntsekele, ex-Police MP Lehlohonolo Moramotse, former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Leshoboro Mohlajoa, and Maseru Star Taxi Association member Sekhonyana Mosenene.

A member of the national executive committee told thepost that “many of us support Mphaka and Kefeletsoe at all costs”.

“We were dismayed when we saw the circular removing the duo from the race,” he said.

He said many ABC members were rallying behind Mphaka because “he has been campaigning even before everyone could start”.

“They know he has lots of followers.”

He said it is unfair that Mosenene has been allowed to run but he has never held any position in any constituency except that he represented his taxi association in the ABC national executive committee.
“Why has he been allowed to contest yet he is just like Mphaka and Kefeletsoe?”

He complained that Sekhonyana, while representing taxi operators in the committee, was eventually made the deputy party spokesman despite not being in any constituency committee after ’Matebatso Doti resigned from the position.

“Mphaka was chosen by the party to lead the 2022 elections campaign teams and develop a party manifesto,” he said.

“He was allowed to do all that without being involved in any party structures.”

The party’s spokesman Montoeli Masoetsa declined to comment.

Dr Manamolela told thepost that “the decision was not made by the party’s national executive committee”.

“I do not want to talk much …but it is not true that the party’s NEC decided to remove Mphaka and Kefeletsoe”.

Kabi could not be reached for comment.

Nkheli Liphoto

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