Maseru- A fraud case of the former minister of Finance and Development Planning Dr. Timothy Thahane was postponed to 1-5 June 2015.
Justice Monaphathi decided the case be heard on these dates after a lengthy plea by the accused legal team led by South Africa’s Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC who sought sufficient time to “sufficiently prepare for good representation of his client.”
Advocate Sefako Seema of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) told newsline365.wordpress.com on Wednesday that the prosecution was willing to see the case proceed on earlier stipulated dates of November 26-28 and December 2-3 this year.
“All what the prosecution wanted was to see the case proceeding yesterday, today and tomorrow (Friday). But we will abide by the judge’s decision as it aims to achieve fair trial. We can’t do otherwise” said Advocate Seema who is instructing Senior Counsel Advocate Guido Penzhorn.
The former minister and currently a Member of Parliament for Likhetlane Constituency is charged of siphoning over M18 million benefitted by Temo-’Moho Farmers Agricultural Association in a block farming scheme.
The judge admitted the accused was entitled to a fair hearing which would only be possible upon sufficient preparations by the defence counsel.
Opposing the postponement ,Penzhorn yesterday argued there were two contradicting sworn statements made by Thahane seeking the case be heard on 2-3 December 2014 while another requested the hearing to proceed in February next year. The affidavits were made on November 22 and attested to by defence instructing Attorney Qhalehang Letsika.
Penzhorn contested that the defence counsel Advocate Ntsebeza, SC, relied in his application for adjournment on legal principles of fair trial as enshrined in the Kingdom’s Constitution and not on facts as evidenced by the two statements.
Penzhon informed the court that the state was ready to proceed with the hearing agreed on by both defence and prosecution on November 11th, 2014.
Advocate Ntsebeza, who had just emerged from South Africa’s Marikana Commission on slaying of 34 miners, reasoned that such an adjournment would enable enough time to prepare for representation of Thahane properly.
Arguing he only had 10 hours to consult with Thahane, Ntsebeza said such preparation was underpinned by the fact that his client was eager to have the trial finalised within a reasonable time in order for justice to be done.
Thahane’s legal team consists of Ntsebeza, Advocate Mpati Dofa of Johannesburg Bar and the instructing Attorney Letsika.
newsline365.wordpress.com is an initiative by a veteran journalist and media development advocate in Lesotho Tsebo Mats’asa. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.