LCD wants to sue Thabane

LCD wants to sue Thabane

MASERU – THE Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) says it wants to sue Prime Minister Thomas Thabane for criminal defamation.
Speaking at a press conference in Maseru yesterday, the LCD spokesman Teboho Sekata said Thabane had maliciously defamed party leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, saying he had stolen M53 million.

Sekata was speaking after the Maseru City Council (MCC) town clerk ’Mantai Phaila gave evidence that appeared to exonerate Metsing before parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) two weeks ago.
Metsing was charged with theft of public funds and fraud in 2014 when his relations with Thabane soured.

According to the charge sheet Metsing had allegedly contravened provisions of the Penal Code Act, No. 6 of 2010 in March 2013.
“During or about 15th March 2013 to date, at or near Maseru, the accused did unlawfully and with intent to defraud, misrepresent to the Government of Lesotho and/or Minister of Finance that the M53 095 027.00 they requested from the Ministry of Finance and was allocated, was for the procurement of yellow plant and its insurance on behalf of the Maseru City Council,” the charge sheet read.

He was alternatively charged with failing to reveal to the Minister of Finance that he had already obtained the money when he requested it.
“This was done with the intent that the finance minister should act upon the said misrepresentation and as a result of the non-disclosure, the Minister of Finance granted a waiver for the procurement of new Caterpillars (road-construction machinery) worth M38 057 760.00.”

“This waiver was used as a pretext for the unlawful and wrongful expenditure and use of the M53 095 027.00,” the charge sheet reads.
However the Director of Public Prosecution Advocate Leaba Thetsane KC withdrew the case from the courts saying it was lodged behind his back.
Sekata said in terms of the Penal Code, Thabane and several other politicians should be charged with criminal defamation after they said he was a thief and a fraudster.

Sekata said this was an offence in terms of section 104 of the Penal Code 2010.
The section says a person who, “by print, writing, painting or by any means otherwise than solely by gesture, spoken word or other sounds, unlawfully publishes any defamatory matter concerning another person with intent to defame that other person, commits an offence of defamation”.
“We will be glad to see them providing evidence in court showing that our leader stole that money,” he added.

Sekata also said even section 71 of the Penal Code was also violated as the police allegedly slapped Metsing with fake summonses on July 31, 2014.
The section says a person who “makes a false statement to any person having control of any official, government register or register of public body or private body dealing with members of the public, with intent that false information should be included in such a register commits an offence”.
“Their summonses did not have names of the magistrate who wrote it, stamp from the office and signatures,” he said.

Sekata said some principal chiefs and NGOs also owe Metsing an apology for spreading lies that he had stolen M53 million from state coffers.
Town Clerk Phaila produced a savingram from the then Principal Secretary of Local Government, ’Mapitso Panyane, dated February 2013 under which she requested a waiver to buy new caterpillars or earth moving machines.

The request was for buying four new earthmoving machines that cost M53 million. She also produced evidence that the money was deposited into the supplier’s bank account. A document showing receipt of the machines was also produced before the PAC.

Nkheli Liphoto

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