Civil ser­vants in court for fraud

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

TWO Min­istry of Small Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment, Co­op­er­a­tives and Mar­ket­ing em­ploy­ees, Thandi Le­sita and ‘Maretšepile Ma­hanetsa yes­ter­day ap­peared be­fore the Mo­hale’s Hoek Mag­is­trate’s Court fac­ing 51 counts of fraud or al­ter­na­tively theft in­volv­ing M1 mil­lion.

The duo is charged with con­tra­ven­ing pro­vi­sions of the Pe­nal Code Act of 2010.

Ms Le­sita was em­ployed as As­sis­tant Mar­ket­ing Of­fi­cer while Ms Ma­hanetsa worked as an enu­mer­a­tor and was an­swer­able to Ms Le­sita.

The al­leged of­fences re­volve around the pro­cess­ing of wool and mo­hair in the ru­ral ar­eas of Mo­hale’s Hoek for dis­patch to South Africa through a South African com­pany called BKB (Pty) Lim­ited.

Ac­cord­ing to the charge sheet, Ms Le­sita’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in­cluded “fa­cil­i­tat­ing the trans­porta­tion of wool and mo­hair to Port El­iz­a­beth in South Africa, han­dling doc­u­ments from the sheds in ar­eas such as Mpha­rane, Qaqatu Nt­je­pe­leng as well as Mase­mousu, pre­par­ing bale sheets, dis­patch­ing ac­count sales to farm­ers as well as li­ais­ing be­tween the Min­istry and BKB.”

Ms Ma­hanetsa’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in­cluded “as­sist­ing in con­duc­tion of mar­ket­ing re­search or sur­veys. She was, how­ever tasked to han­dle wool and mo­hair records when she was trans­ferred to Mo­hale’s Hoek since there was no District Field Recorder.”

The pros­e­cu­tion al­leges that be­tween Jan­uary 2014 and De­cem­ber 2015 the two of­fi­cers acted in agree­ment to de­fraud the farm­ers and the farm­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tions of Mo­hale’s Hoek, govern­ment or BKB (Pty) Ltd of M1 046 546.18.

Ac­cord­ing to the charge sheet “the said ac­cused per­sons shar­ing com­mon in­ten­tion to pur­sue an un­law­ful pur­pose…de­lib­er­ately made to the govern­ment of Le­sotho’s Min­istry of Small Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment, Co- op­er­a­tives and Mar­ket­ing and/or BKB (Pty) Ltd and/or Mo­hale’s Hoek farm­ers and/or Mo­hale’s Hoek wool and mo­hair as­so­ci­a­tions a false rep­re­sen­ta­tion to wit; that Likhabiso Le­falatsa, Papiso Tšotetsi, Rale­bobo­jane Rapholo, Thato Anna Masheane and Smith Ma-ge­orge Ly­dia were farm­ers, whilst in ac­tual fact were ghost farm­ers cre­ated by the ac­cused per­sons…”

They al­legedly did so “with the in­ten­tion that the Min­istry of Small Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment, Co­op­er­a­tives and Mar­ket­ing and/or BKB (Pty) Ltd should act upon the said rep­re­sen­ta­tion to the detri­ment of the Mo­hale’s Hoek farm­ers and/or Mo­hale’s Hoek wool and mo­hair as­so­ci­a­tions and thereby caus­ing the Min­istry and BKB to so act.”

They were nabbed af­ter it was dis­cov­ered in De­cem­ber 2015 that there were sus­pi­cious ac­count sales as there were some farm­ers who were paid by BKB (Pty) Ltd but were un­known to the other farm­ers as well as their as­so­ci­a­tions.

“Fur­ther­more there was a dis­crep­ancy be­tween the quan­tity of wool and mo­hair sold and or de­liv­ered to BKB (Pty) Ltd on some farm­ers’ or as­so­ci­a­tions’ tem­po­rary re­ceipts and the quan­tity of wool or mo­hair for the same farm­ers or as­so­ci­a­tions re­flected on the Ac­counts Sales in that they were re­duced or de­ducted.”

Chief Mag­is­trate for the North­ern Re­gion Mr Many­athela Kolobe yes­ter­day re­leased them on bail af­ter they each paid M7 000 as bail de­posit.

As part of their bail con­di­tions, they were or­dered to ap­pear in court ev­ery two months.

Mr Kolobe also or­dered them to sur­ren­der their pass­ports to the se­nior Clerk of Court in Mo­hale’s Hoek or to the Direc­torate on Cor­rup­tion and Eco­nomic Of­fences (DCEO) who in­ves­ti­gated the case. The pass­ports can only be re­leased for them to at­tend proven ur­gent mat­ters.

He fur­ther or­dered they should not ob­tain new pass­ports.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.