State lawyer withdraws from high profile case

An advocate who was representing the crown in a case of contravention of mines and minerals act of 2005 against Member of Parliament (MP) for Machache constituency and now minister of police, Mr. Monyane Moleleki, says his case is a fuss and a joke. This, advocate Siphozihle Mdluli said on Wednesday this week before the high court when officially informing the court that he is withdrawing from the case as the state’s counsel.
According to the state owned Lesotho News Agency (LENA) Adv. Mdluli told the court that he is fed-up with the way the case has been handled since its beginning especially by the defence that showed no intention to proceed with the matter before court.
He explained that he was identified from his home country South Africa, to come and help the state in prosecuting the case by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Attorney General (AG) but indicated that proceeding with the matter before court has been nothing but a joke.
He indicated that the defence has since the beginning of this case prevented it from commencing by among others asking for several postponements citing reasons that the first accused, Moleleki was sick and not fit to appear before court and that it was later one of his co-accused who was said to be sick.
He explained that what recently shocked him is that he had all this times been driving from Durban to attend to the case here in Lesotho but only found yesterday (May 12) when he appeared for mention that the matter had somehow been agreed to be heard on certain dates in August by the DPP and the defence but without his knowledge as the incumbent Counsel representing the state.
He also told the court that he had been assisting the DPP with prosecuting its cases for over 12 years but added that he had never seen a case in which the accused persons and their legal representatives are so frustrating and don’t want their case to be heard like this case.
He further commented that he suspects there is something sinister that has been planned about this case and that he doesn’t want to be part of the scandals that might be associated with this case and that he has a reputation, integrity and credibility to uphold.
After his disclosure, Justice Ts’eliso Monaphathi told him that the court accepts his withdrawal.
LENA also learnt that the DPP had already assigned Adv. Moletsane Lenono to take over as the prosecutor in the case.
In this case, Moleleki is the first respondent while other respondents are Refela Holdings, Mohapi Khofu, Moeketsi Mots’oane, Ts’epo Khofu and Kereke Moteletsane.
In the first count, they are accused of failing to comply with provisions of the Act between May 1 and 29, 2012 by not applying in writing, to the Commissioner of Mines, for prospecting licenses at Ha Ramatšeliso and Mosaqane in the Qacha’s Nek district.
The second count states that the respondents are accused of submitting false documents to the now defunct Ministry of Natural Resources purporting they had previously held community meetings in the two villages where they intended to prospect for diamonds, when in fact they had not.
In the third count, they are accused of submitting a forged document to the same ministry on the same date, so they could be issued the said licenses.
Refela Holdings was granted three licenses to prospect for diamonds over a period of two years, in the villages of Ha Ramatšeliso and Mosaqane in Qacha’s Nek as well as Ha Mahlekefane, in the Botha-Bothe district.
The permits were alleged to have been endorsed by Moleleki, and were all issued on the same day but were however cancelled by the Minister of Mining, Tlali Khasu, on October 31, 2012 on suspicion that they had been issued under questionable circumstances.
Moleleki is in this matter represented by Adv. Salemane Phafane KC.