HR manager convicted

HR manager convicted

MASERU – THE magistrate’s court has found the Local Government Ministry’s human resources manager Poloko Maluke guilty of stealing money by opening accounts for ghost workers.

The prosecution said had he pleaded not guilty, it would have called witnesses to testify that Maluke activated the banking record of Chief Mothae Mothae of Berea Plateau and changed banking details with the purpose to steal money in November 2017.
The prosecution says Maluke opened several accounts in different names.
The prosecution says Maluke fraudulently opened a new account with the First National Bank (FNB) in the name of Ntšepeng Motaung and deposited M101 777 into the account.

Motaung allegedly told investigators that Maluke approached her requesting her bank card and pin number and persuading her that she could trace all transactions via her mobile phone.

Evidence shows that Maluke was working together with one of his close relatives, one Keketso Motaung who was also charged with theft and fraud.

Maluke also activated a record of one ‘Mota Moshoeshoe whose contract of employment had been terminated a year earlier, the prosecution says.

“The Accused created a false employment number of that Moshoeshoe then deposited M66 445 into the account of Keketso Motaung who was his close relative and working as a security guard for Security Unlimited,” the court heard.
Magistrate ’Makopano Rantšo fined Maluke M5 000.
Magistrate Rantšo said Maluke was guilty of contravening section 59(b) of the Penal Code Act No 6 of 2010.
The charge sheet says between November 27, 2017 and November 13 2018 at the Ministry of Local Government offices in Maseru, Maluke unlawfully defrauded the ministry to the tune of M266 685 which was in the lawful possession of the Principal Secretary Tšeliso Mokoko
The charge sheet says Maluke did this without Mokoko’s consent and thus committed the offence of aggravated theft.

Maluke, pleading guilty of all the charges brought against him before court, apologized for his actions and asked for the court’s leniency.
He said he was the bread winner at home and had been dismissed from work.

“I have a wife and two children who depend on me, I am the bread winner in the family,” he said, adding: “I ask for mercy, ask for lenient sentence, may I be given a chance of a fine so that I continue maintaining my family.”
“I have been dismissed from work, I am not working and I am sorry for what I did,” he said.

However, Magistrate Rantšo said despite the mitigating circumstances “justice has to be done and law takes its place”.
“Therefore I am ruling that in count 1 you pay a fine of M4 000 and in count 2, 3, and 4 M2 000 each. However, half is suspended of each count,” she said.
Maluke then pleaded in court for time to raise the money. The magistrate granted the request and asked Maluke to pay the fines on or before March 1 this year.

Itumeleng Khoete

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