A KENYAN, who is in custody for allegedly forging a Lesotho passport, appeared before the Maseru Magistrate’s Court on Monday seeking bail.
Luiz Rihmat Alvez (22) was remanded on Wednesday last week twith his co-accused Stephen Makhetha. The Lesotho Times understands Mr Alvez was deported from Namibia to South Africa and then sent to Lesotho after being found in possession of Kenyan, Rwandan and Lesotho passports.
According to the charge sheet, Mr Alvez of Old Town in Kenya contravened Section 15 (e) of the Lesotho Passports and Travel Document Act No 15 of 1998.
Reads the charge sheet: “In that upon or about the 21st day of October 2015, and at or near Moshoeshoe I Airport, in the district of Maseru, the said accused did unlawfully and intentionally have or found in his possession, a forged, altered or defaced regular passport to wit: Passport No. RB 330532 thus contravene (sic) the provisions of the aforesaid Act.”
Mr Makhetha (41), from Ha-Molenoane village, is charged with contravening sections of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act.
His charge sheet reads: “In that upon or about the year of 2013 at or near Maputsoe in the district of Leribe, the said accused being a public officer, casualty at Immigration Office Berea in relation to his duties of office wrongfully, unlawfully and intentionally directly agrees or offers to permit his public conduct as a public officer to be influenced by promise or prospect to wit: by receiving the sum of M4 000 from Rethabile Mokone as promise to give in return a passport written in the names Luiz Rihmat Alvez of RB 330532 and did offer such passport and duly received by the said Luiz Rihmat Alvez thus contravened (sic) the provision of the aforesaid Act.”
The defendants’ lawyer, Advocate Christopher Lephuthing, appealed for his clients’ release on bail, arguing Mr Alvez was a first-year student at the University of Johannesburg and could not afford a high bail deposit.
“I pray that he be ordered (to pay) M500 as bail deposit and other normal bail conditions. I also pray that his conditions to attend remands be stretched to meet (sic) his situation as a student,” Advocate Lephuthing told Magistrate ‘Mamorojele Qoo.
On Mr Makhetha’s part, the solicitor argued he is a family man working for a Member of Parliament.
“He earns little as he is a mere messenger. (May) his bail deposit, we pray, be fixed at M500 as well as other normal bail conditions,” said Advocate Lephuthing.
However, Prosecutor Lehlohonolo Phooko argued Mr Alvez was a flight-risk since he had already been deported from Namibia, and brought to Lesotho from South Africa.
“. . . (Mr Alvez’s) application is opposed because one of the conditions for bail is for the accused to stand trial to finality, and we fear that Mr Alvez will abscond,” Mr Phooko said.
“…the reason being he was deported from Namibia to the Republic of South Africa and back to Lesotho due to the alleged forged passport. And there is a possibility that he might forge another one and escape. He is a Kenyan, and should he be granted bail, we pray that stringent conditions be attached, that is, M20 000 surety and a bail deposit of M2 500.
“As regards Mr Makhetha, we have no problem but only ask the court to consider the seriousness of the offence he is charged with. We pray that this court orders bail deposit to be M2 500.”
Judgement in the case will be handed down today.