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Joki killer wants bail

Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa. Contact us today: News: [email protected] Advertising: [email protected] Telephone: +266 2231 5356

…labels his arrest a “publicity stunt”

…claims he bought guns used to kill Joki after the crime had already been committed

Moorosi Tsiane

MOABI Sesioane, the alleged mastermind in the murder of prominent journalist, Ralikonelo Joki, wants to be released on bail, claiming the police had only arrested him as a “publicity stunt”.  They have no evidence of his involvement in the murder, he claims.

Sesioane insists he was not involved in the murder of Joki and two other people that he has been accused of killing. He had only bought guns used to kill these three people after the acts had already been committed. When he bought the guns, he did not know that they had already been used to kill  Mr Joki and two others.

Sesioane does not explain in his bail application why he bought the guns from the unauthorised illegal dealers.

He claims the police told him they only arrested him  because the case had attracted a lot of publicity.  They thus only wanted to quickly remove it from their desk.

The police accuse Sesioane of being the mastermind of Mr Joki’s killing. They claim he is the one who initially had a dispute with Mr Joki. He had then arranged his murder.  But Sesioane inisists he had nothing to do with the 14 May 2023 assassination of  Mr Joki. He therefore wants to be released on bail.

His application filed at the High Court this week has not yet been heard.

Sesioane (32) was charged by the Maseru Magistrates’ Court on 25 June 2023 alongside Mothusi Tlelase (31), Sootho Liphoto (35) and Kamo Phakoe (35) for the murder of Mr Joki.

He was further on the same day charged along with Tlelase and Liphoto for the 20 May 2023 murders of parliament committees’ coordinator Mothibe Mothibe and his companion, Thomello Ntsane. The latter is a sister to the police head of legal, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SACP), Mamello Ntsane.

Resident Magistrate, Peete Molapo, remanded them in custody that day. He  informed them of their right to seek bail at the High Court which has jurisdiction over murder cases.

The four made a brief appearance again before the Maseru Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday for their routine remand. They will reappear again on 18 July 2023.

But Sesioane has since approached the High Court seeking bail. It is not clear why his co-accused have not applied for bail as well.

In his court papers, Sesioane reveals for the first time that he had been arrested by the police before on allegations that he killed Mr Joki. He had been released on condition that he reports back whenever the police wanted him.

He claims he heard that the police had been looking for him again. He had gone to try and establish why.  He had then been arrested again on 21 June 2023.  This time he was never released but hauled before the court to be formally charged with murder on 25 June 2023.

He claims the police had told him that  Mr Joki’s case was getting too much publicity and so they wanted to  clear it from their desks.  He claims he was further told only the courts would have the discretion to release him  on bail this time round.

“…I was arrested and then released while the police continued with their investigations but always reporting when requested to. I was called again to report myself (on 21 June 2023) only to be arrested again and given the charge of murder. The reason, as explained by the police was that the case has attracted too much publicity therefore, they need to remove it from their desks and that I will be released by the court,” Sesioana states in his court papers. The statement contradicts his other assertion that he had learned that the police were looking for him and had gone voluntarily to establish why.

When publicising Phakoe, Tlelase and Liphoto as wanted suspects in connection with Mr Joki’s murder, police spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli, did not mention that they had  at one stage arrested Sesioane in connection with the case but released him. He did not even mention Sesioane’s name.   He only said that preliminary investigations had revealed that the fourth suspect had a fallout with Mr Joki hence the conspiracy to kill him.

Sesioane’s name only became public when they were read the charges by Magistrate Molapo on 25 June 2023.

He also argues that he deserves bail because he had in fact helped the police to catch Phakoe, Tlelase and Liphoto. He claims he had convinced the three  to hand themselves over to the police. They had then all been arrested at the border while going to the police, he claims.

“I had learned that I was being wanted in connection with the deaths of the above alluded people (Joki, Mothibe and Ntsane). I then made investigations as to who the perpetrators were, and I discovered that it was alleged to be people I bought guns from (Liphoto, Tlelase and Phakoe). I traced them and found them. I convinced them to come home to surrender themselves so that I could clear my name.

“During the interrogation, it became apparent that I was not involved in all the shooting incidents of the deceased. The only reason why I was linked to the shooting was because I had bought the guns after they were used. I did not know at all that those guns had been used in the shooting of the deceased,” Sesioane says, in a new twist to the story of Mr Joki’s killing that transfixed the country and tarnished the country’s image in light of the ever increasing number of homicides.