9 March 2018

Lesotho: Kamoli Trial Finally Commences

FORMER Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander, Retired Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, will next week finally stand trial in the High Court over a plethora of murder and attempted murder charges.

The trial comes six months after he was arrested in connection with 30 August 2014 killing of Police Sub-Inspector, Mokheseng Ramahloko.

Sub-Inspector Ramahloko was shot and killed by soldiers during the attempted coup of August 2014 at the Police Headquarters in Maseru. The soldiers who allegedly acted on the instructions of the then army commander, Lt-Gen Kamoli, also raided several other police stations in Maseru and seized an assortment of weapons.

Lt-Gen Kamoli retired on 1 December 2016 and was only arrested in October 2017, just a few months after the advent of the Thomas Thabane-led four party regime in June 2017.

He has been languishing in custody at the Maximum Security Prison since his arrest in October 2017 and his bid for release on bail was denied by High Court judge, Justice Teboho Moiloa.

Justice Moiloa ruled in November 2017 that Lt-Gen Kamoli had failed in his bail application to substantiate his claim that he was suffering from influenza which required him to be in close proximity to his doctors. Justice Moiloa also ruled that Lt-Gen Kamoli had failed to demonstrate that there were exceptional circumstances that warranted his release on bail as required by law.

That same month, he was excused from attending remand hearings in the Magistrate's Court after the prosecution informed the court that the police investigations were complete and the case was ready to be sent to the High Court for trial.

And on Tuesday, the High Court's Assistant Registrar, Advocate Stafford Sharite, told the Lesotho Times that the former army commander will appear before the High Court for the first time next Thursday.

"All is set for him (Lt-Gen Kamoli) to appear for the first time before the High Court on the 15th of March 2018," Adv Sharite said.

Three other army officers namely, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane (38), Lance Corporal Motloheloa Ntsane (34) and Lance Corporal Leutsoa Motsieloa (31) are charged with Lt-Gen Kamoli in the murder of Sub-Inspector Ramahloko. The three are in detention with Lt-Gen Kamoli at the Maseru Maximum Prison.

Lt-Gen Kamoli is also facing 14 counts of attempted murder in connection with the 27 January 2014 simultaneous bombings of the Moshoeshoe II homes of First Lady Maesaiah Thabane and the Ha Abia residence of former police commissioner, Khothatso Tšooana.

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