HIGH Court judge, Justice Semapo Peete, yesterday gave the police, army and intelligence until the 2 October this year to bring back the exiled ‘Makarabo Mojakhomo to stand trial for fraud.
There have been conflicting reports about what actually happened to Ms Mojakhomo after she was arrested on 29 May this year for allegedly defrauding the First Lady ‘Maesaiah Thabane’s Trust Fund of at least M200 000.
She failed to appear in court on 31 May after the police claimed she had escaped from custody while they were preparing to take her to court.
But Ms Mojakhomo’s family disputed the police version of events and insisted that there was no way that she could have broken out of tightly guarded police cells. The family subsequently petitioned the High Court for an order for the police to produce her dead or alive.
However, in a recent turn of events last week, her lawyer Advocate Letuka Molati wrote to the Police Commissioner, Holomo Molibeli, informing him that Ms Mojakhomo was alive and well. Adv Molati stated that contrary to the police allegations, Ms Mojakhomo did not escape but “she was abducted with the direct help of the police from the police custody”.
Yesterday Justice Peete said that it made him extremely “mad that things like this can happen in a democratic country” where there are so many soldiers, police officers and spy agents.
Justice Peete did not say whether by “things like this” he meant that Ms Mojakhomo had escaped from police custody as alleged by the police or that she had been abducted as she claimed through her lawyer.
Justice Peete ordered the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS), the National Security Service (NSS) and the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) to work together to guarantee Ms Mojakhomo’s security and ensure that she is brought back into the country to stand trial for fraud.
“I am so mad that I wish ‘Makarabo Mojakhomo could walk through that court door this afternoon but that cannot happen,” Justice Peete said.
“I want to give you a long time to do whatever the police have to do because the police have a duty to protect lives. They should leave no stone unturned and by 2 October 2018, the LMPS should have completed whatever arrangements or investigations into the transit of ‘Makarabo into Lesotho.
“The NSS, LDF and the LMPS should work together in this matter. It is a matter of law not a choice. It makes me mad that this can happen in a democratic country when we have so many soldiers, police officers and NSS who need to join forces and make arrangements for ‘Makarabo to come back. Her safety should be assured.”
He said Lesotho was part of the global village and therefore such cases would be known internationally and this would have a negative impact on the country’s image.
“I order that the case be postponed to 2 October 2018 in which you should be good and ready to make sure that we close this chapter,” Justice Peete said.
Justice Peete had called lawyers representing the Mojakhomo family and the police to officially brief him on the progress that had been made in the case which the family had petitioned the court to order the police to produce Ms Mojakhomo dead or alive.
The lawyers – Advocates Letuka Molati (representing the Mojakhomo family) and Makhele Sekati (for the police) – appeared before Justice Peete a week after Ms Mojakhomo resurfaced in South Africa amid claims that she could have been assisted by some senior police officers to flee the country.
Adv Molati recently wrote to Commissioner Molibeli informing him that Ms Mojakhomo was alive and in hiding in South Africa.
Adv Molati said that Ms Mojakhomo would only return to the country when her safety was guaranteed and in due course, she would spill the beans on some senior police officers and high-ranking civilians who allegedly abducted, trafficked and conspired to murder her on the day that she allegedly disappeared from police custody.
Adv Molati would not say how Ms Mojakhomo escaped from her abductors and ended up where she is currently hiding. He said he had instructed Ms Mojakhomo to prepare a sworn affidavit which would explain everything.