Metsing finally joined in Kamoli’s treason trial


Released on M50 000 bail and M100 000 surety



MASERU – Formerly self-exiled leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Mothejoa Metsing, on Wednesday this week finally returned home to face treason charges levelled against him – and has been released on a M50 000 bail and M100 000 surety. Metsing has been joined as the 5th Accused in the high treason trial in which former army commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and several of his lieutenants as well as the Minister of Planning Selibe Mochoboroane, stand accused of attempts to topple the former Motsoahe Thabane-led government in 2018.

The warrant for his arrest, issued by Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane on December 6, 2021, for failure to appear before court in the criminal trial has been set aside and cancelled. Metsing has been hiding in neighbouring South Africa since then, until he was arrested in Ladybrand, South Africa, on a different warrant of arrest in relation to other criminal charges. The South African court released him on bail then, and he returned to Lesotho on a negotiated settlement to face this treason charge.

Justice ’Maliepollo Makhetha ordered the former deputy prime minister to pay the bail deposit, and to provide one independent person to stand in for surety in the amount of M100 000 or rather get two independent persons to stand in surety of M50 000 each, to be deposited by not later than 10:00hrs on Thursday, August 11. “The 5th Accused is admitted to bail on the following conditions: The accused must stand trial to finality; he must appear before court whenever directed by the court; he must not interfere with crown witnesses; he must report to the Leribe police station every Friday between the hours of 08:00hrs and 16:00hrs.

“He must deliver his passport and any other travel documents to the investigating officer, Deputy Police Commissioner Makharilele by not later than 15:50hrs on the 10th August 2022,” said Justice Makhetha. Metsing is also ordered to seek the permission of the investigating officer whenever he requires to leave Lesotho and permission should not unreasonably be denied.

The trial has been postponed to October 25 for hearing of his application for passing of the charges; the matter will continue on October 27 by order of court. Before delivering the accused’s bail conditions, Justice Makhetha stated that the bail conditions were made after counsel representing both him and the Crown came to an agreement settlement and drafted a court order draft and presented it to the court. Justice Makhetha approved the draft and offered Metsing bail on conditions set in the draft. She strongly reprimanded Metsing for his misconduct and contempt of court.

She said Metsing should not think that he is above any law just because he is a legislator and former deputy prime minister of the country. She noted that non-compliance amounts to contempt to court further stating that time that was lost between December and today is considerable and calls for the court’s attention. “I wish to send a strong message of reprimand to the accused for his failure to obey court instructions. The accused is a political leader and a former deputy prime minister of this country, as such it is expected highly of him to set a good example to that nation when it comes to compliance with the courts’ orders.

“He must practice what he preaches to his followers against crime commission for indeed contempt of court is a punishable criminal offense in this court. “The accused is a legislator; he cannot make laws to break them. His conduct in handling the court’s orders in the present case is condemned from all its phases. This is the kind of conduct that will ruin the reputation and integrity of this court. It is most likely to undermine public confidence in the administration of justice in this country therefore the accused must not consider himself above any law.

“He must avoid being mistaken for a leader who is taking advantage of his standing in society to become law onto himself,” Justice Makhetha said. Representing the Crown, Advocate Shaun Abrahams, presented the draft settlement to the court, also giving a brief background on the case – stating that the case got as much public interest both domestically and internationally. “Our appearance before court this afternoon is occasioned by the avoidance of chief justice’s order in a matter of Metsing and another vs Attorney General and others.

He told the court that Chief Justice Sakoane had ordered Metsing and Accused No 6 (Mochoboroane) to appear before court on December 6, 2021. Abrahams stated that Mochoboroane appeared before court on the set date but Metsing failed to appear and, as a result, the court issued a warrant for his arrest. The warrant was signed by the registrar of the high court on December 7, 2021, but on June 17, 2022, Metsing filed an application before the court that sought to have the warrant for his arrest cancelled, avoiding to be joined to the proceedings in the treason trial.

Following his application, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane, filed a notice of opposition to that application and filed pleadings in answer to Metsing’s application in opposing the application. However, counsel representing all parties involved in the case have since entered into negotiations and reached a settlement agreement which has now been signed by both parties. In reaching the settlement of the agreement, the parties took a number of factors into consideration, the most important of which are the avoidance of procreative legal processes in relation to Metsing’s application of June 20, which is the Prosecutions application for his extradition from South Africa to Lesotho.

According to Advocate Abrahams, it was evident in Metsing’s papers that they were distanced from litigation in opposition to his extradition back to Lesotho to stand trial in respect of the matter which potentially could have taken years to bring to finality and there were a number of issues that they believe might end up in the constitutional court in South Africa relevant to his opposition to his application to his expedition.

He said the other issue is the seriousness of the charges that all the accused face, including Metsing, the public interest, the safety and security of Lesotho, the interest of justice and the rule of law. “As such, we ultimately agreed to draft the order and you’re, your Ladyship, to make it an order of court.”

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