Top lawyer ar­rested over botched land deal

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

PROMI­NENT lawyer Ad­vo­cate Thulo Hoeane was ar­rested yes­ter­day over a botched land deal and is ex­pected to ap­pear be­fore the Maseru Mag­is­trate’s Court to­day on fraud charges.

Ad­vo­cate Hoeane was ar­rested at his Ha-thamae home around mid­day by two po­lice of­fi­cers from the Fraud Depart­ment over M15 000 the lawyer al­legedly owes a Botswana man since 2014.

He was taken to Po­lice Head­quar­ters where he was in­ter­ro­gated and de­tained pend­ing his ap­pear­ance in court to­day.

The lawyer was, how­ever, re­leased late in the af­ter­noon on con­di­tion he re­ports to Po­lice Head­quar­ters at 8am to­day to be taken to the Maseru Mag­is­trate’s Court.

Po­lice spokesper­son Ler­ato Mot­seki, last night con­firmed the ar­rest, telling the Le­sotho Times: “Ad­vo­cate Hoeane was ar­rested be­cause he has not been co­op­er­a­tive with the po­lice since this mat­ter came to our at­ten­tion.

“Ac­tu­ally, the Botswana man ( name with­held) is the one who re­ported to the po­lice in 2014 that Ad­vo­cate Hoeane owed him M15 000 which he had given him to se­cure him a res­i­den­tial site in Maseru, but failed.

“The Botswana man is mar­ried to a Mosotho and wanted to re­side in Le­sotho fol­low­ing the mar­riage.

“He had made a deal with Ad­vo­cate Hoeane to as­sist him get a site in Maseru. Ap­par­ently, that’s when he paid the money to the lawyer but no site was se­cured.”

Se­nior In­spec­tor Mot­seki said af­ter the po­lice in­ter­vened, Ad­vo­cate Hoeane paid the man M2000 in 2014.

“Ad­vo­cate Hoeane only paid M2000 in 2014, ac­cord­ing to what I have gath­ered from the in­ves­ti­ga­tors. The po­lice had never in­tended to open a case against a per­son of such high stand­ing in so­ci­ety as Ad­vo­cate Hoeane un­til the lawyer him­self re­neged on his prom­ise to the po­lice and the Botswana man that he would pay.

“The po­lice have been hunt­ing him for a while now hop­ing he would pay the rest of the money but to no avail. The po­lice were left with no choice but to ar­rest him when that chance came to­day,” she said.

How­ever, Ad­vo­cate Hoeane told the Le­sotho Times that he only owed the man M4000. The lawyer also said he be­lieved the ar­rest had noth­ing to do with the money but the high-pro­file cases he is han­dling.

He said: “I met this man late in 2015 and he wanted me to as­sist him get a site. We had iden­ti­fied three peo­ple who could sell their land to him then.

“But we sub­se­quently failed to agree terms and he wanted his money back. I told the man and the po­lice that I could only re­im­burse him the money he had paid for the site but not the le­gal fees that he also paid me.

“I said this be­cause I had used my le­gal ex­per­tise in the ne­go­ti­a­tions although things did not work out. So he could not ex­pect me to pay back the le­gal fees, oth­er­wise what would I have done all those ne­go­ti­a­tions for?”

He in­sisted he only owed the man M4000 af­ter pay­ing him M2000 in 2015. But Ad­vo­cate Hoeane was also quick to in­di­cate he was not ar­rested be­cause he owed the Botswana man.

“I am not a fool. I am quite aware of the po­lice in­ter­ests that drove them to ar­rest me to­day. I can­not be ar­rested for a mere debt. Ob­vi­ously there are peo­ple in high places who are in­volved in my ar­rest. There is some­one or some high-rank­ing peo­ple who just want to see me in jail be­cause I am han­dling some high-pro­file and sen­si­tive cases which could pos­si­bly im­pli­cate some peo­ple in high places. But noth­ing will de­ter me from the work I do. I will not be in­tim­i­dated by any­body in any man­ner,” he said.

Ad­vo­cate Hoeane is cur­rently rep­re­sent­ing Koal­a­bata dou­ble rit­ual mur­der sus­pects, Lehlo­honolo Scott and his mother ’Malehlo­honolo. The two are ac­cused of al­legedly killing their neigh­bours, Mo­holo­bela Seetsa (13) and Kamo­h­elo Mo­hata (22), in Jan­uary and July 2012, re­spec­tively. The vic­tims’ body parts were found in three lo­ca­tions in Koal­a­bata, prompt­ing spec­u­la­tion they had been killed for rit­ual pur­poses.

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