#PrellerSquareShooting: I am here to clear my name, says FS Stars coach

The former Bloemfontein Celtic and current Free State Stars assistant coach, Duncan Lechesa, has prefaced his testimony in the Louis Siemens murder trial, by saying he wants to clear his name.

Lechesa, a former soccer player as well, says in the Bloemfontein High Court on Monday 25 November that his name and reputation have been tarnished by accused number one, Stanley Bakili’s alleged shady dealings.

Lechesa alleges the investigators in the case probed him not only about his relationship with Bakili but questioned him further on his presence at the Windmill Casino on the eve of Siemens murder in May 2018.

Lechesa explains to Judge Pitso Molitsoane that he was visiting Bloemfontein from 8-10 May 2018 as he and a business partner wanted to submit tender documents. He says while he did not personally book accommodation at the Windmill Lodge, Bakili invited him to sleep over in a room at the lodge on the night of 9 May 2018 on accused number one’s tab which is paid for in the form of an MVG card. This loyalty card is available at all Sun International resorts for the company’s most ardent customers.

The soccer coach says he was under the impression that Bakili had paid for the room, only to find out months later when police contacted him, that Bakili had used Lechesa’s card to pay for the rooms at Windmill, without his permission. It is not yet determined in court how this happened and if more rooms allegedly used by Bakili and co the week of the murder were charged on Lechesa’s loyalty card. It is important to note, these cards require a PIN number for a transaction to go through. There is also the matter of Bakili saving the soccer veteran’s number on his cellphone as “Eugene CFO Bophelo”. This angered Lechesa greatly, who says he is a public figure and did not have any involvement in the deal between accused number one and the deceased.

Bakili’s legal counsel, Masilo Koenane, says his client never saved the soccer coach’s cell phone number as the CFO of Bophelo House – known as the headquarters of the provincial health department. He also denies ever contacting Lechesa while in jail demanding that the soccer player must pay him back R10 000 owed to him for lawyers fees and support for his mother. He also maintains it is not possible to use someone else’s MVG card to make bookings at Windmill casino.

Lechesa’s statement was taken by the state a mere week before the murder trial began on 28 October 2019.

Siemens was shot and killed on 10 May 2018 in the basement parking area of Preller Square Shopping Complex. It is alleged the deceased was paying bribes to government officials through Bakili to have CityMed’s hospital bed licence amended to allow for more beds when the business partnership soured. Bakili is joined by Molebatsi Mogoera, Kagiso Chabane, Mojalefa “Jali” Molusi, Moeketsi Lesia, Clive Tshivenga, Karabo Tau, and Sizwe Mpati as the accused in the dock. The men who are between the ages of 29 and 56, and include three police officers, a disbarred advocate, an accused in separate double murder cases, and a military man,
are alleged to have played varying roles in orchestrating Siemens’ murder.