Maaparankoe Murder trial: Col Phaila ‘s testimony

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…Col Phaila’s testimony as he is quizzed by Advocate Molati

By Liteboho Thebe  

In this question and answer, Advocate Letuka Molati cross-examined Colonel Thato Phaila as the trial of Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and other soldiers for the murder of Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli is underway.

Advocate Letuka Molati Cross Examination with Colonel Phaila at the Maseru High Court on Thursday the 8th July 2021.

Lawyer of the retired Lieutenant General Kamoli Kennedy Kamoli, Adv Letuka Molati questioned Colonel Phaila and their dialogue was as follows:

LM: Colonel, do soldiers have the authority to arrest people?

CP: Yes

LM: if a soldier attempts an arrest and the person resists arrest, do they have an authority to shoot that person?

CP: Yes

LM: Is a soldier allowed to use his weapon if ever it happens that his life is at risk or that of his colleague in a process of attempting to arrest?

CP: Yes

LM: Is it true that soldiers are trained on rules of engagement training?

CP: Yes

LM: Am I correct to say that soldiers and police officers used to work hand in hand to fight crime?

CP: Yes

LM: On the arrest of Brig. Mahao, was there any evidence of soldiers having planned a mutiny?

CP: Yes

LM: What I am telling you is that some of the soldiers that were part of the mutiny are going to provide evidence in this case.

CP: I don’t know anything about that.

LM: Evidence that there were mutiny plans in the Lesotho Defense Force has not been given to the accused.

CP: I don’t know anything about that

LM: Some of the people that are going to provide evidence, in this case, were also presented in the Phumaphi commission of inquiry

CP: I don’t know

LM: Do you know that the legal fees of the accused that are represented by Adv Napo Mafaesa are financed by the government?

CP: I don’t know

LM: During your time serving in the LDF were you aware that Chief Thesele Maseribane received money from a wealthy man from Britain named Aaron Banks?

CP: That I am aware of and there are documents in the office that can serve as evidence, there is correspondence that proves that he did receive that money, I even listened to his heated interview in one of the radio stations in South Africa, he was raging at the fact that people thought that was a bad thing to do.

LM: It was said that this country is led by people full of deceit, that the money Chief Thesele Maseribane was given exceeded M200,000.

CP: That is what I recall

LM: Did he disclose the money according to the IEC system in Lesotho although that is not mandatory?

CP: No comment

LM: Did you know that Aaron Banks had a major interest in the diamonds of mines in Lesotho?

CP: That is what I heard

LM: Has it come to your realization that Aaron Banks has a major interest in the formation and the downfall of the governance in Lesotho.

CP: That I cannot deny, I can touch on it a lot, Lesotho is ruled by greedy people, that is very much possible.

LM: Do you know that DCEO sees no problem in the fact that Chief Thesele Maseribane did not disclose the money from Aaron Banks to the IEC, according to section 70 of the IEC system?

CP: People are awarded positions to conceal corruption, which is why you may find that people sometimes lead a constituency and then they are later awarded a job to manage the NSS.

LM: Let’s make this clear, NSS is managed by Ralenkoane?

CP: It is so

LM: Did he partake in the elections?

CP: It is so

LM: What party was he repsenting?


LM: Did you really say that Chief Thesele planned a mutiny with the soldiers?

CP: It is so

LM: Did Chief Thesele Maseribane ever speak about you in the Phumaphi commission of inquiry, is that true?

CP: It is true, he tells lies about me, he stated that I went to Bloemfontein to shoot Major Mosakeng and I got arrested but I showed up to work the following morning.

LM: Did the Phumaphi Commission of inquiry ever give you an opportunity to question Chief Thesele Maseribane regarding that?

CP: Phumaphi chose that I do not ask him

LM: In the Phumaphi commission of inquiry, did Chief Thesele Maseribane lie that a civilian named Hloloane passed on?

CP: I vividly remember him saying that and he was in tears, perhaps he was aware that Hloloane disclosed his secrets.

LM: Was Chief Thesele ever charged with purgery?

CP: I don’t remember him being charged.

LM: Did you know that Chief Thesele wanted to lead BNP for the third term?

CP: I know this very well, I have an informant in BNP.

LM: Is Chief Thesele a Prime Minister in the government of his Majesty?

CP: It is so

LM: Is the former Senior inspector now the current Government secretary?

CP: It is so

LM: Can you tell the court about the two?

CP: He is the predecessor of Major General Matobakele and Chief of Staff Major General Poqa Motoa.

LM: Is it true that the Phumaphi Commission of inquiry sat in South Africa yet it was founded in Lesotho?

CP: That is what happened after the Minster of defense in South Africa visited Lesotho in a fact-finding mission regarding the soldiers and then he encouraged the Phumaphi commission inquiry to sit in South Africa, Ts’ooana and his colleagues gossiped about people in the Phumaphi Commission of inquiry then disappeared in without a cross-examination.

LM: Was the accused number 9, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli was absent when soldiers commenced an operation to arrest soldiers accused of mutiny?

CP: It is so

LM: Had the soldiers that planned a mutiny planned to topple the LDF leadership then later do the same with the appointed government of Lesotho

CP: It is so

LM: Do you know that Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli was included in the case of the murder of Brig Mahao in 2019 after being jailed for two years?

CP: I believe so, the country deals with difficult issues

LM: Did you know that Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli was questioned by 20 police?

CP: No comment

LM: Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli will tell this court that when the police that was questioning him told him that they are not going to charge him regarding the Brig Mahao case because he has nothing to do with it

CP: No comment, but the police also told me that they have nothing against me

LM: was Lt Gen Kamoli informed about the arrest of Brig Mahao when he was called to be told that he was shot?

CP: it is so

LM: Will it be considered as the truth if someone stood in front of the court to confirm that Lt Gen Kamoli reported to the then ministers to inform them of the passing of Brig Mahao.

CP: That would be a cooked up lie

LM: After you learned of Brig Mahao’s passing did you leave the office, Lf Gen Tlali Kamoli will tell this court that he approached 7 ministers of that time and suggested an investigation regarding the killing of Brig Mahao,

CP: That was said by General Mots’omots’o, that there will be a commission formed.

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