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Nyakane’s murder case stalls over server issue

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

Moorosi Tsiane

The case in which controversial soldier, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, is accused alongside four other army officers, of killing three civilians in Mafeteng in April 2012, could not proceed this week because the High Court’ recording systems are out of order.

This after the government’s main server to which the court’s IT systems is connected was attached by a virus/

Presiding Judge, Polo Banyane, was therefore forced to postpone the matter to an unspecified date.  The High Court is currently on recess and only urgent matters are being heard. But because of the breakdown of the recording systems only urgent civil cases are being heard.

It is a standard High Court procedure that criminal proceedings be recorded, especially when evidence is led.

“Counsel, we are facing a challenge here at the courts as a fortnight ago, our server at the Ministry of Communications was struck by a virus so we have not been able to hear trials…….I have tried to make enquiries with our technical department and they said they could not tell how soon this matter will have been resolved but we can meet virtually on Monday next week so that I can give you feedback and then we will propose new dates to continue with the matter,” the judge explained to the lawyers present.

The lawyers of the accused had wanted the case to proceed even in the absence of state prosecutor, Mosoeunyane Masiphole, who was not in court due to ill health.  As a result, the DPP’s office was not represented.  Judge Banyane said he had been informed of Adv Masiphole’s illness but would still have expected someone from the DPP’s office to be present to update her on the situation. She explained the case could thus not proceed because of the system malfunction even if Adv Masiphole had been present.

Captain Nyakane is accused alongside Lance Corporals Khauhelo Makoae, Sebilo Sebilo and Privates Tšepo Tlakeli and Thebe Tšepe.

They face three counts of murdering civilians; Thabang Mosole, Monyane Matsie and Pakiso Ntala Letatane at Ha Lepolesa in Mafeteng on 06 April 2012.

On 18 May 2023, Capt Nyakane’s four co-accused applied for a bail and Judge Banyane is yet to issue her ruling on the matter.  Captain Nyakane did not file for bail because he is in custody over litany of other murder cases.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information, Communications, Science, Technology and Innovation announced this week that the government’s main server had been shut down to clean it and beef up its security after an attempt to hack it.

It said the server will be up and running again once it had been cleaned up. The shutting of the server has affected several government services including the High Court’s IT systems, the IFMIS financial management and payments system, passport and identity document issuing services, among others.