DCEO seizes car from suspected fraudster

DCEO seizes car from suspected fraudster

MASERU – THE Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) has seized a car belonging to a suspected fraudster who allegedly robbed ’Mabathoana High School of M67 000.
DCEO Director General Borotho Matsoso obtained a court order yesterday to keep a 2005 silver Nissan Elgrand belonging to the suspected fraudster Teboho Thakholi.
The order was granted by Justice Teboho Moahloli.

In the application, Matsoso argued that he had reasons to believe that the car was bought with proceeds of unlawful activities.
He relied on an affidavit deposed to by Detective Police Constable Morakali Molefi, a fraud unit police officer, who investigated the case.
Molefi told the court that during his investigations he discovered that between February and March this year ’Mabathoana teachers came to know Thakholi through teachers of Maseru Day High School who claimed that he was an agent of a certain TFH Travel Tours (TFH).
The ’Mabathoana teachers were organising a school trip to Durban in July.

Molefi established from one teacher, Mpho Mphakalasi, that after Thakholi’s brief presentation in a meeting it was agreed that he would be their agent for the trip.
In another meeting Thakholi allegedly proposed to take some teachers to Durban so that they could inspect the hotels before he could make bookings.
On April 13 he went to Durban with two teachers, Mathealira Khopolo and Ntsubise Mopeli. It is alleged that while there Thakholi allegedly requested them to pay a deposit at Olwandle Hotel.
They gave him M67 000 for 224 students.

He then entered the hotel and held a long meeting with the manager, Farewell Babo Hadebe.
When he returned from the meeting he told the teachers that Olwandle could not accommodate all the students.
It was agreed that on the following day Olwandle would try to outsource accommodation from other hotels for the remaining students.

On the third day Thakholi met Hadebe again at Olwandle and when he came back he handed the two teachers a tax invoice which was unclear to them, with an explanation that he would rectify the error the following week.
They returned to Lesotho.

From there, Thakholi failed to give the school a proper invoice during several meetings, saying he had left it at his Morija home. It was then that the school reported him to the police.
The police summoned him and he provided a tax invoice that was inconsistent with the dates and the required number of bookings for ’Mabathoana’s students at Olwandle.
The tax invoice showed an amount of M74 400 for 322 students but he had been given one with M67 200 for 224 students.

His explanation was that he had paid for other students who could not be accommodated at Olwandle at The Union Hotel and Tudor Hotel.
Teachers, at the advice of the police, went to Durban to confirm his claims.
Thakholi allegedly refused to go with them.

At the Olwandle, on May 9, Hadebe told them that Thakholi told him not to discuss any matter with them.
They also found that he had not paid a cent to the three hotels.
In the meantime, Thakholi was caught going from door-to-door in Maseru asking for donations on behalf of ’Mabathoana students who were going to Durban.

Molefi went to Durban to confirm that Thakholi had not paid the hotels and when he came back he charged him with theft and fraud.
Molefi also found that he used the money to buy the car from Syed Ghayoor Abbas Bukhani, a car dealer in Leribe.
Bukhani told Molefi that Thakholi owed him M13 000 because he had paid only M47 000 with a promise that he would pay the balance in two instalments of M5 000 at the end of April and M8 000 at the end of May.

Molefi checked with the Registrar of Companies and found that Thakholi’s TFH Travel Tours was non-existent.
“It was established that Thakholi has no source of income,” Molefi told the court.
“He is unemployed therefore he does not receive remuneration. He has no business generating income.”

He said the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that he used the money to buy the car.
“M67 200 was the proceeds of fraud and theft therefore (the car) is also the proceeds of crime,” he said.

Staff Reporter

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