MASERU — A judge presiding over the fraud case involving former Mines Minister Monyane Moleleki and four others this week accused them and their lawyers of taking his court for granted after they arrived late in court.
Moleleki is accused with Tšepo Khofu, Kereke Moteletsane, Mohapi Khofu and Refela Holdings of issuing false mining licenses.
Justice Dan Akiiki-Kiza said the “accused are taking this court for granted.”
This after he sat in his court and waited for Moleleki and his lawyers to arrive.
Only one of Moleleki’s three lawyers, Advocate Sakoane Sakoane, was in court when the judge entered.
The others, Advocates Salemane Phafane KC and Zwelake Mda KC were not in court while the judge was already seated.
Moleleki and his co-accused were also absent prompting Sipho Mdhluli, the crown prosecutor, to ask the judge to adjourn proceedings for 10 minutes saying the judge could not be kept waiting for the accused and part of their legal team to arrive.
“I do not think it is fair to the court to be sitting here waiting for the accused,” Mdhluli said in his remarks asking the judge to adjourn proceedings.
However, just as the judge was about to consider the adjournment request, Moleleki, his other co-accused and his other two advocates entered the court room.
The judge asked for an explanation and Phafane apologised profusely blaming a traffic jam for their late arrival.
Justice Dan Akiiki-Kiza then reprimanded them saying “where I come from, when the accused are not in court the state applies for the cancellation of bail.”
Justice Akiiki-Kiza is Ugandan.
He then blamed the accused for taking the court for granted and reminded them that the “law is the law and it should be respected . . . .”
The judge proceeded to rule that Moleleki and his lawyers must be furnished with documents they had requested to enable them to prepare their defence properly. After that, a date to proceed with the case would be decided.