Former com­mis­sioner of refugees guilty of fraud

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

Former Com­mis­sioner of refugees in the min­istry of Home Af­fairs Fran­cis Tl­hopheho Se­fali will spend 10 years be­hind bars if he fails to pay a M20 000 fine im­posed by the maseru mag­is­trate’s Court on Tues­day this week.

Se­fali was slapped with the hefty sen­tence af­ter be­ing con­victed of fraud­u­lently fa­cil­i­tat­ing the ac­qui­si­tion of a Le­sotho pass­port for ethiopian eyob Asemie in 2003.

He first ap­peared be­fore the Maseru Mag­is­trate’s Court on 6 march 2013 ac­cused of writ­ing in the min­istry of Home Af­fairs records that Asemie had come to Le­sotho in 2003, when he had ar­rived in 2005.

Ac­cord­ing to the charge sheet be­fore the court, the pur­pose of back-dat­ing Asemie’s ar­rival was to make it pos­si­ble for him to ac­quire Le­sotho’s ci­ti­zen­ship so that he could qual­ify for a pass­port.

Se­fali had pleaded not guilty but Chief mag­is­trate ‘matankiso Nthunya found him guilty of fraud as charged.

read­ing the sen­tence on Tues­day on be­half of mrs Nthunya, Se­nior res­i­dent Peter murenzi said the sen­tence was im­posed af­ter con­sid­er­ing all fac­tors sur­round­ing the case and Se­fali’s per­sonal cir­cum­stances.

“i have taken into ac­count the fact that the ac­cused is a first-time of­fender.

“i have also con­sid­ered the fact that he is cur­rently un­em­ployed and a di­vorcee and he has two chil­dren to sup­port. In other words, i have taken into con­sid­er­a­tion his per­sonal cir­cum­stances,” he said.

How­ever, the mag­is­trate crit­i­cised Se­fali for com­mit­ting the crime when he was a high-rank­ing govern­ment of­fi­cial, who at some point, served as Deputy Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary for the Home Af­fairs min­istry.

“He was ,at the time, the Deputy Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary and en­trusted to act as chief ac­count­ing of­fi­cer in the ab­sence of the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary,” he said.

But at the time he first ap­peared be­fore the mag­is­trate’s Court on 6 march 2013, Se­fali was Di­rec­tor of Ad­min­is­tra­tion at the Cen­tral Bank of Le­sotho.

mr murenzi fur­ther re­marked: “His con­duct was com­pletely un­be­com­ing of an of­fi­cer of such a high rank.

“How­ever, be­cause Asemie has since left the coun­try and the ac­cused left the min­istry of Home Af­fairs, i be­lieve he will not ever be in a po­si­tion to do what he did for any­body else in Asemie’s shoes.”

mean­while, the court agreed Se­fali could pay his fine in in­stal­ments as sub­mit­ted dur­ing mit­i­ga­tion.

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