MASERU — One of the suspects accused of trying to assassinate Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili in April 2009 told the High Court on Friday that they were never informed that they were being extradited to Lesotho to face trial.
Rocky Anthony Masinga told High Court judge Justice Thamsanqa Nomngcongo during a trial-within-a-trial that they never expected to be extradited to Lesotho when they were taken to court in Bloemfontein on April 18.
Masinga, who was brought to Lesotho along with six other suspects, said they were still waiting for a response from South Africa’s Justice Minister Jeff Radebe regarding their application against extradition when they were extradited to Lesotho.
He said when they were taken to court in Bloemfontein last month they were given an impression that the court was going to hear their appeal against extradition.
“We were not served with an extradition order,” Masinga told Justice Nomngcongo on Friday.
“We were taken by a whiteman who showed us his card indicating that he was from Interpol (international police) and told us that we were being taken to Lesotho,” Masinga told the packed courtroom.
He said when they went to court in Bloemfontein on February 15 their lawyer, Advocate Paul Shapiro, told them they had lost their case and that he would make a follow-up.
“He told us to expect a response on the appeal from the minister anytime between April 19 and May 6, 2011.”
Masinga said they were however taken aback when they were suddenly extradited to Lesotho on April 19 without hearing anything about their appeal from Radebe.
He said a day earlier they had been told by a police officer to prepare themselves as they were going to court the following day.
“But instead, when we checked out at the reception the following day, we were told to go back and fetch our luggage.
“We were then brought to Lesotho.”
Masinga said Shapiro had told them that he would visit them on May 6 for an update on the minister’s order.
“But by May 6, we were already in Lesotho,” Masinga submitted.
He told the court that the Interpol officer did not show them the minister’s order.
“He neither read it to us nor said anything until we reached the Maseru Border Post.”
They were then leg-chained and handed over to Lesotho authorities, Masinga said.
The case was postponed to Tuesday.
The seven, Alberto Makwakwa, Fransisco Alberto Mandlate, Mangani Malenge, Abel Nhatsave, George Thomas, Angelo Mondlani and Masinga are challenging their extradition to Lesotho.
Two others — Solomon Mabasa and Anthony Lopes — are not challenging their extradition.
All nine suspects face charges ranging from murder, kidnapping, robbery, and attempting to murder Mosisili.
The alleged offences took place on the night of April 22, 2009 at Makoanyane Barracks and at the State House.
Attorney Haae Phoofolo is appearing for the seven suspects while the Director of Public Prosecutions Leaba Thetsane is prosecuting.