Published on August 15, 2014 · No Comments
MASERU – Investigations on the alleged shooting of former foreign affairs minister, Monyane Moleleki, in 2006 are remain shrouded with inconsistencies, with Moleleki failing to provide crucial evidence that could give clues on the incident.
This is despite detailed submissions and directives made by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Leaba Thetsane eight months after the alleged attempt on the life of former minister Moleleki.
A 10-page document, which Public Eye is in possession of, contains the submissions and directives of the DPP which relate contradictions and varying versions, including failure by Moleleki to provide substantial evidence relating to his alleged shooting.
The incident was recorded at the Maseru Pitso Ground police station and relates to a charge of attempted murder.
But the Lesotho Mounted Police Service said they were awaiting directives from the Law Office for further action.
However, Public Eye established that the case has never been prosecuted due to significant contradictions and shortcomings on key evidence, including some evidence of a circumstantial nature.
“Given the state of affairs as revealed by the investigations hitherto, it remains difficult to determine with precision who the perpetrators of the acts on the material day were,” Thetsane observed.
“I have carefully read the rest of the statements obtained from various persons. The view that I hold is that such statements are but peripheral to the issue(s) that ought to have been investigated. I reiterate the scene of events examination is crucial in determining what happened on the material day.”
“This case requires a careful, level headed investigation devoid of any extrinsic factors/considerations that might cloud one’s mind,” says Advocate Thetsane, now King’s Counsel, in submissions after scrutinising the statements of 28 people who made statements to the police.
Based on Thetsane’s memo dated August 30, 2006, Moleleki’s version conflicts with that of his bodyguards Privates Mokhesuoe and Motšoehli, two commandos of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).
“The Hon. Minister’s account of how the shooting took place appears to be more lucid and detailed than that of his bodyguards. It would appear according to him the shooting went on at two intervals; first before the gate opened and second after the gate had opened and in the yard. This connotes that the shooting should have gone on for a considerable length of time,” the memo directed to the then Assistant Commissioner of Police John Selete of the LMPS Operations Unit reveals.
It surfaces in the submissions that Moleleki “…does not describe the nature of the injuries he sustained, and the treatment he underwent at the Makoanyane Military Hospital until he was discharged.”
According to Public Eye investigations, Thetsane’s document was received by LMPS Criminal Investigation Division investigator and now Thaba-Tseka Police Commander Senior Superintendent Litsietsi Selimo on August 15, 2012. He was a detective then.
Thetsane’s office submitted that the bodyguards and Moleleki said that the sentry box at his home was dark at the time they arrived, forcing them to shout at the guards on duty.
However, the DPP said: “What is queer is that Private Motšoehli alights from the vehicle without the rifle, yet owing to the apparent suspicion he would have gone out carrying the rifle. This should be viewed in the light of prior warning that there might be trouble during the period under review.”
While he suggested for more independent evidence apart from that of the individuals interviewed by the police, Thetsane said thorough forensic evidence could have shed more light on what happened.
The DPP was to determine the identity of suspects who shot at the minister and to determine a possible charge against “…people who might be held responsible for the attempt on the life on the Hon. Minister and presumably his bodyguards as well.”
Surprisingly, the investigating team failed to obtain a statement from the medical practitioner who treated Moleleki for injuries upon admission at the army hospital.
“The nature of the injuries sustained by the minister should have been described by the person who treated him. This is more so because the doctor is a potential witness. Hence a medical report should have been obtained from him,” the Law Office observed.
It emerged after the attack that Moleleki was failing to issue a medical report, if there was any, to the then Commissioner of Police ’Malejaka Letooane, raising questions on the credibility of the versions.
Questioning statements obtained from Mokhesuoe and Motšoehli, Thetsane observed serious discrepancies that include the two soldiers’ failure to describe how the shooting started, where it came from in relation to the sentry and how long it lasted. He argued, as trained soldiers, they should have been able to discern the calibre of the firearm used in the shooting.
There was no mention of Private Lichabe, who at the time of the shooting was on guard at the sentry.
Lichabe’s statement, according to Thetsane, differs from that of the two bodyguards as Lichabe said he saw the vehicle of the minister on arrival. He also saw the bodyguard standing behind the vehicle.
Again, the police report failed to reveal to Thetsane’s office the identity of the investigators and the author of the summary report making it impossible for the DPP to know who to direct the submissions to.
“Given the facts in this matter, therefore, I advise that the scene of events be revisited with a view to conducting a thorough examination thereof. I should guess that some forensic expert with the necessary apparatus could carry out the tests,” said the DPP, adding that one Senior Inspector Pali, who was a police forensic investigator, could shed some light on this suggestion.
Approached to comment about the memo contents, Thetsane declined to do so, but admitted he had issued directives to the police.
Although denying the DPP had issued written directives to the investigators, LMPS Public Relations Officer Lebona Mohloboli said at the onset the forensic expert, referring to Pali, had been sought by the police. He said the DPP could seek further services of such an investigator as the police could not pay for such services.
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