Ma­hao de­mands M1mil­lion from Likoti

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

THE Prime min­is­ter’s Political Ad­vi­sor, Fako Likoti, was yes­ter­day served with a let­ter of de­mand from ma­hao fam­ily spokesper­son, Lehloenya ma­hao, who is claim­ing m1 mil­lion for defama­tion.

mr ma­hao ac­cuses Dr Likoti of of­fend­ing him through a let­ter he wrote to the Le­sotho Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Au­thor­ity (LCA) chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer last week.

Ac­cord­ing to mr ma­hao’s lawyers, mosotho At­tor­neys, Dr Likoti has 30 days to pay the money or face le­gal ac­tion. mr ma­hao’s brother, maa­parankoe, was shot dead on 25 June 2015 by his mil­i­tary col­leagues who had come to ar­rest him for al­leged mutiny. The death of the for­mer Le­sotho De­fence Force (Ldf)com­man­der has since be­come the sub­ject of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the south­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC), and soured re­la­tions be­tween the ma­hao fam­ily and some govern­ment of­fi­cials.

Reads the lawyers’ let­ter: “We have been in­structed by mr Lehloenya ma­hao re­gard­ing the con­tents of your let­ter dated 5 Jan­uary 2015 and ad­dressed to the Chief ex­ec­u­tive — Le­sotho Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Au­thor­ity.

“in your said let­ter, a copy of which is in our pos­ses­sion, you make the fol­low­ing se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions against our client: He claimed that the Le­sotho govern­ment paid m100 000 to­wards a mr Hashatsi case; that the above al­leged state­ment by our client is fal­la­cious; that the above al­leged state­ment is ma­li­cious; and that the above al­leged state­ment was rubbed on lis­ten­ers of Har­vest Fm.

“Your above let­ter found its way to sev­eral me­dia houses and so­cial me­dia. The con­tents thereof have thus be­come a mat­ter of na­tional scru­tiny. Our in­struc­tions are that your al­le­ga­tions against our client are base­less, wrong­ful, and ma­li­cious; meant only to un­der­mine and or im­pair mr Lehloenya ma­hao’s good name, rep­u­ta­tion and es­teem in which he is held by the na­tion at large.”

The lawyers noted the al­le­ga­tions in this re­gard were fur­ther “cal­cu­lated to por­tray mr ma­hao as a liar who is out to dis­re­spect, ridicule and tar­nish the au­thor­ity of the govern­ment of Le­sotho. Your ma­li­cious and or reck­less al­le­ga­tions in this re­gard have in­deed re­flected neg­a­tively on Mr Ma­hao’s char­ac­ter in the eyes of mem­bers of so­ci­ety. We thus claim from you an amount of m1 mil­lion as dam­ages for defama­tion.”

The lawyers added mr ma­hao’s let­ter served as a for­mal no­tice “that un­less the pay­ment is made within 30 days, we shall be­gin le­gal pro­ceed­ings against you with­out fur­ther no­tice.”

The let­ter is dated 13 Jan­uary 2016 and also bears Dr Likoti’s of­fice stamp in­di­cat­ing it was re­ceived the same day.

Mr Ma­hao con­firmed he was tak­ing ac­tion against Dr Likoti but would not go into de­tails of the case. On his part, Dr Likoti re­fused to com­ment when con­tacted yes­ter­day, in­sist­ing “let us talk to­mor­row.”

mean­while, in his 5 Jan­uary 2016 let­ter to LCA Chief ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, Tšeliso ‘Mokela, and also copied to Com­mu­ni­ca­tions min­is­ter Khotso Let­satsi as well as Har­vest Fm man­age­ment, Dr Likoti noted:

“To­day, 5 Jan­uary 2016, the above-ra­dio sta­tion hosted one mr Lehloenya ma­hao on its morn­ing pro­gramme. mr ma­hao made a claim that (the) Le­sotho gov­ern- ment paid m100 000 to­wards mr Hashatsi’s case. The pro­gramme con­vener even urged mr ma­hao to re­peat on air this se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tion with­out get­ting govern­ment’s side.

“This fal­la­cious state­ment was rubbed on lis­ten­ers with­out the pro­gramme con­vener even es­tab­lish­ing the truth about this. This ma­li­cious al­le­ga­tion was there­fore en­ter­tained by ms mphana with­out even try­ing to es­tab­lish the truth.”

Dr Likoti added it Har­vest Fm had “be­come one of the ra­dio sta­tions that has em­barked on a cam­paign to de­monise and cast neg­a­tive as­per­sions against the govern­ment of Le­sotho.”

He said it is on the ba­sis that “we ask your good of­fice to take stern mea­sures against the ra­dio sta­tion.”

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