Taxi operator in court over student’s death

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MASERU — A local taxi operator, Nkoli Malia, appeared in the High Court yesterday to answer a charge of murder.
Malia is accused of fatally shooting Mosa Lemphane who was a student at Lerotholi Polytechnic in Maseru last year.
The prosecution says Malia intentionally killed Lemphane along Kingsway Street in Maseru.
Malia denies the charge. He said he had no intention of killing Lemphane insisting that it was an accident.
Yesterday, Malia’s son Tumelo, told the High Court that it was in fact him who caused Lemphane’s death.
Tumelo, 19, drove his father’s taxi and went to Lerotholi Polytechnic to fetch Lemphane and some friends on the fateful night.
He said he drove the taxi without first seeking permission from his father.
He wanted to take Lemphane and some friends for some drinks at Calash Bar on the outskirts of Maseru.
“I did not find him at his school. I then proceeded to CTC bar. I found him in company of some boys some of which I did not know.
“We then proceeded to Calabash. There were six of us in a taxi.
“But one of the boys who were in a taxi asked me to stop at Lesotho Bank Tower for him to withdraw some money.
“As we had just stopped my father arrived in his red 4×4 van.
“Immediately I drove away because I was aware that he was angry.
“I drove towards Shoprite basement. Upon arrival we all ran in different directions and immediately I heard gun sound about three times.
“On the following day I learnt that Mosa was dead,” Tumelo said.
“Yes I admit that someone’s child is dead because of my actions. I am also aware that my father is facing murder charges because of my actions and I am very sorry.”
He told the court that he had driven the vehicle without the permission of his parents.
Malia says he was looking for his stolen vehicle.
His lawyer Advocate Haae Phoofolo said Malia was not aware that his son was driving the taxi.
“The accused says he did not see you (Tumelo). He was only following his vehicle as he believed it had been stolen,” Phoofolo said in cross examination.
However, Tumelo said he was aware that he had caused all the trouble.
He said he wanted to use the vehicle to transport him and his friends to Calabash for drinks that night.
“I wanted to go to Calabash. It is the place where liquor is sold and it is also an entertainment place,” Tumelo said.
But Potlaki Pelesa, who was also present during the shooting, said the shooting was not accidental.
“The shooting was not accidental because the accused even said he had killed the deceased,” Pelesa said.
Pelesa was also a student at the Lerotholi Polytechnic.
The Lerotholi Polytechnic students, who filled the court to its capacity, kept on making some remarks in court as a sign of endorsing Pelesa’s testimony.
But High Court Judge Lisebo Chaka-Makhooane warned the students against passing the remarks.
“This is my court. I cannot tolerate this behaviour. There is nothing preventing me from sending you out of this court if you keep on behaving like this,” Chaka-Makhooane said.
After the lunch break Phoofolo told the court that his client were not happy with the unpleasant remarks made by the students.
The case continues.

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