MASERU — Napo Majara, the chief of Sekamaneng in Berea, has been slapped with a two-week prison sentence for contempt of court.
Majara started serving his prison sentence on Monday and will remain in custody until December 2, 2013.
High Court Judge Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase sentenced Majara to the prison term after the chief’s failure to appear in court on November 4 to answer charges that he demanded a M500 bribe from a man who had asked him to facilitate the transfer of ownership of a piece of land that had been donated to him.
The chief’s lawyer, Advocate Tšeliso Fosa, said the judge had told Majara that the reason of putting him in custody would be to make it easier for the court to find him when it needed him.
Majara did not pitch up for court when the trial was supposed to open on November 4, 2013.
The judge promptly issued a warrant for his arrest. There was no explanation given to explain Majara’s absence from court.
The chief only pitched up the following day, November 5, and alerted his lawyer that he was at the court.
Fosa then informed the chief that a warrant for his arrest had already been issued after his failure to appear in court the previous day. The lawyer advised him that they go and see the judge to resolve the matter.
Fosa said the judge had asked them to come with the crown counsel prosecuting the case.
Fosa had subsequently pleaded with the judge to cancel the warrant of arrest.
The case had been postponed to 2.30 pm on November 18 2013 but Majara failed to turn up.
“At 2.30 pm Majara was not available. I could not reach him even on his mobile phone . . .,” Fosa said.
The court had ordered a policeman to call his name three times to no avail.
Majara then appeared only at 2.50 pm.
By then a warrant of his arrest had already been issued. He will be in custody from November 18 to December 2, 2013.
Majara is facing the charge of soliciting a bribe in return for services that his office is obliged to provide for free.
He demanded M500 from a man who had come to ask for help in transferring ownership of a residential site previously owned by his elder brother into his own name.
Majara, who was arrested in a police trap set up after he solicited the bribe from Bokoro Tau, is charged with violating provisions of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act 2003.