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Accused soldiers demand recusal of prosecutors

SC Shaun Abrahams leads the Crown in the trial

July 20, 2021 2 min read

2 min read

THE nine soldiers who are accused of the murder of former army boss, the late Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao have requested the recusal of the two prosecutors handling their case.

The accused include Litekanyo Nyakane, Haleo Makara, Lekhooa Moepi, Motsamai Fako, Marasi 'Moleli, Motšoane Machai, Mohlalefi Seitlheko, Tšitso Ramoholi and former army commander, Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli.

They are accused of killing Mahao on June 25, 2015 in Ha Lekete on the outskirts of Maseru.

The accused also face multiple charges including attempted murder, theft, obstruction of justice, damage to property, aggravated assault and risk of injury or death.
They have applied for the recusal of Senior Counsel Shaun Abrahams and Advocate 'Naki Nku who represent the Crown in the matter.

The applicants argue that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Adv Hlalefang Motinyane is not qualified to appoint prosecutors in the trial, adding that only the Attorney General has the right to do so.

This comes after a dramatic court appearance of one witness, retired Colonel Thato Phaila, who accused Abrahams of being unfair towards him, accusing him of attempting to blackmail him into giving false information in exchange for release of his retirement package.

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In his evidence, Phaila said the attempt to blackmail him occurred in the presence of among others the DPP, adding that Abrahams has been fabricating evidence claiming it was his.

He denied knowledge of operations order bearing his signature, claiming he never endorsed such orders.

Among other things, Phaila said he made a statement before the police claiming it was under pressure, hence, the statement was not entirely his, adding that an affidavit that he is said to have signed before the Thaba-Tseka District Administrator (DA) should also not be considered as a court document.

The case continues before Justice Charles Hungwe. LeNA

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