Tha­hane, Khethisa graft trial post­poned again

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

FOR­MER En­ergy, Me­te­o­rol­ogy and Wa­ter Af­fairs min­is­ter, Ti­mothy Tha­hane, and sus­pended Fi­nance min­istry Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Mos­ito Khethisa will only know of their cor­rup­tion trial sched­ule in March 2015.

The duo ap­peared be­fore the High Court on Mon­day this week ex­pect­ing a timetable for the hear­ing to be set, but pre­sid­ing judge, Jus­tice Molefi Makara, post­poned the case to 2 March 2015.How­ever, sources close to the case told the Le­sotho Times the case would be heard in the High Court from 5-20 May 2015, sub­ject to con­fir­ma­tion on 2 March.

Dr Tha­hane and Mr Khethisa are charged along­side Civa In­no­va­tions (Pro­pri­etary) Limited Di­rec­tor Mokhethi Moshoeshoe, for al­legedly de­fraud­ing gov­ern­ment of M19 mil­lion in 2010.The charges re­volve around a con­tract awarded to Civa on 29 April 2010 by the gov­ern­ment for the es­tab­lish­ment of a wool and mo­hair project in Maseru in con­tra­ven­tion of the coun­try’s pro­cure­ment reg­u­la­tions.

Mr Khethisa, who was sus­pended in April this year after be­ing charged in a dif­fer­ent fraud case, and Mr Moshoeshoe, first ap­peared be­fore the Maseru Mag­is­trate’s Court in Oc­to­ber 2013 re­gard­ing the al­leged fraud, while Dr Tha­hane joined the trial later.dr Tha­hane and his coac­cused face two charges — fraud and bribery.the fraud charge reads: “On or about 29 April 2010 or there­after in the dis­trict of Maseru, the ac­cused, shar­ing a common pur­pose, un­law­fully, de­lib­er­ately and with in­tent to de­fraud, rep­re­sented to the gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho or the Min­istry of Fi­nance and De­vel­op­ment Plan­ning that an agree­ment en­tered into be­tween the Min­istry and Ac­cused Three (Civa In­no­va­tions Man­age­ment {Pro­pri­etary} Limited) on 29 April 2010 in re­spect of Wool & Mo­hair Prod­uct De­vel­op­ment, com­plied with the Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment Reg­u­la­tions of 2007. “This was done with the in­ten­tion that the min­istry should act upon the said mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion to its prej­u­dice and to the prej­u­dice of the Gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho, by pay­ing to the ac­cused three sums to­tal­ing M8 379 070.50; M9 772 000.00 and M915 596.85 and did thus com­mit the crime of fraud.”

On bribery, the charge sheet reads: “On a date un­known to the Crown but be­fore 29 April 2010, Ac­cused Three (the company) and Four (Di­rec­tor Moshoeshoe) cor­ruptly of­fered a con­sid­er­a­tion to Ac­cused One (Tha­hane) and Two (Khethisa), who cor­ruptly agreed to ac­cept such con­sid­er­a­tion in re­turn for ac­tion in their of­fi­cial ca­pac­i­ties as pub­lic of­fi­cials — Ac­cused One in his ca­pac­ity as Min­is­ter of Fi­nance and De­vel­op­ment Plan­ning and Ac­cused Two as Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary.

“Such ac­tion by Ac­cused One and Two was fa­cil­i­tat­ing a con­tract be­tween the gov­ern­ment of the King­dom of Le­sotho, on the one hand, and Ac­cused Three on the other, on 29 April 2010, in re­spect of Wool and Mo­hair Prod­uct De­vel­op­ment. Such con­sid­er­a­tion was in the form of a share in the pro­ceeds of funds re­ceived by Ac­cused Three in re­spect of such con­tract.”when the fraud was al­legedly com­mit­ted, Dr Tha­hane was Fi­nance min­is­ter dur­ing the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy gov­ern­ment.

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