By Nat Molomo
MASERU — The investigation into former minister Monyane Moleleki financial affairs seems to have collapsed on Tuesday after the police abruptly dropped an application seeking to keep his accounts frozen.
For the past three months the police and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) have been investigating the Democratic Congress (DC) deputy leader for alleged corruption and money laundering.
Accounts of an orphanage he controls have been frozen and his house raided.
At one time it seemed the net was closing in on him.
But the decision on Tuesday to drop the case seems to indicate that the investigation has floundered.
Despite the raid and the freezing of the accounts the police seem to have so far failed to find enough evidence to charge Moleleki.
That means for now Moleleki is off the hook.
Yet the police can still continue with their investigation.
In the meantime he can continue to transact in the four accounts which were the subject of the investigation.
The police’s decision also comes at a cost because they will have to pay Moleleki’s legal costs which run into more than M100 000.
His lawyer Salemane Phafane KC told the Lesotho Times that the Attorney General Tšokolo Makhethe had withdrawn the case against him.
“Today the Attorney General says they have withdrawn their case of freezing the accounts, we accepted,” Phafane said.
“The crown will also pay the costs.”
Phafane said the crown never disclosed their reasons for withdrawing the case.
“We have always maintained that there was no case.”
A jubilant Moleleki told the Lesotho Times that the fact that the case had been dropped vindicates his position that the probe was “politically motivated.”
He alleged that the police had been instructed by cabinet to freeze his accounts in an effort to discredit him and destabilise the DC.
Moleleki described the investigation as a witch-hunt.
The four accounts held at First National Bank have M38 000, over M40 000, M500 000 and M2.8 million.
They were frozen on July 27 following an order granted by a Maseru magistrate ’Makopano Taole from the DCEO.
After Moleleki’s four bank accounts with the First National Bank and Nedbank were frozen, Moleleki filed an application in the High Court and the matter was supposed to proceed on Tuesday.
But the case was held in chambers.
The police suspected the accounts were used in a manner detrimental to the government.
But after Moleleki argued through his lawyer that one of the accounts was used by the orphans and that they would suffer, the court ordered it be unfrozen.
The orphanage account which holds M500 000 was unfrozen on August 15.
The police suspected that the former minister could have used the orphanage to launder money allegedly stolen from the government.
In their application the police had alleged that if the accounts were not frozen the government would “suffer irreparable harm”.
Senior Inspector Mahlomola Mothae, who sought the order, told Taole he suspected the accounts were used in a manner “detrimental to the government”.