Thakaso takes mining row to PAC

Thakaso takes mining row to PAC

MASERU – BUSINESSMAN and opposition politician, Mohau Thakaso, last Thursday handed over a dossier on Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Thakaso, who is the leader of the White Horse Party, was amongst individuals who were complaining about the conduct of the Ministry of Mining to the PAC.
Thakaso is due to testify again at the PAC on Monday.

The file Thakaso handed over to the PAC is expected to reveal how Moleleki allegedly pushed him and his partners out of Lemphane diamond mine in favour of mining magnate Sam Matekane.
For the past eight years, Thakaso has been accusing Moleleki, who was natural resources minister in 2010, of deceiving him and a group of his business friends.
Thakaso alleges that Moleleki told a group of local companies, including his Pegasus (Pty) Ltd to form a consortium to secure rights to Lemphane mine in Butha-Buthe.
One cannot operate a mine without getting the rights from the government.

The dossier is also expected to show that Moleleki allegedly promised to give the consortium the rights to Lemphane Diamond Mine and to find an investor to fund their operations.
After they formed the consortium, Moleleki instead gave the rights to a company owned by Sam Matekane, Meso Diamonds.
Thakaso alleges that Meso Diamonds was given the claim to Lemphane Diamond Mine despite the fact that it had not applied for the rights in the first place.
Thakaso’s gripe was that Moleleki’s decision meant they would not benefit from the lucrative mining deal as he had promised in several meetings.

Initially there were five companies that formed the consortium, allegedly at Moleleki’s behest, after they had applied for the mining rights.
Mohau Thakaso’s Pegasus Mining, Kot Kol Mining, owned by lawyer ’Molotsi Kolisang, and Kenken Mining, controlled by Kennedy Lefothane, were among the companies that had applied for the rights before being advised to form a consortium by Moleleki.

Majoe-a-’Nete, owned by Butha-Buthe businesswoman ’Makatleho Maepho, and Gems Lesotho, which belongs to Lefa Ntsike, were also part of the consortium.
Together they made up Motete Mining consortium and appointed Thakaso as chairman.

While Motete Mining was waiting for the investor that Moleleki had promised, four other companies that had not even applied for the mining rights were allowed to join the consortium.
The companies are Maximum Point and Dinaka tsa Moradi as well as the Lesotho Congress for Democracy’s Nonyana Ntsu and Vermogen, a South African firm.
The addition of these four companies gave birth to another consortium called Lihlaba Mining but Moleleki’s promise of an investor remained.
While they were waiting for the promised investor they were shocked when Moleleki announced on Lesotho Television that Matekane’s Meso Diamonds had been given the prospecting rights.
Soon thereafter, Meso Diamonds began operations.

Thakaso told the PAC that he had a lot of information on the shady deal.
He said he registered Pegasus Mining (Pty) Ltd in 2007.

Thakaso said he was informed by members of the mining board that his application for a prospecting licence for Lemphane Mine was successful and that he was to be awarded the licence.
Thakaso said Moleleki later called him to the boardroom where he met 15 other people who he later learnt had also applied for Lemphane Mine.
During the meeting Thakaso said Moleleki recommended that they should form a consortium in order to acquire the mine collectively.
The consortium assumed the name Lihlaba Mining (Pty) Ltd.

He said they took the minister’s advice in the spirit of working together.
“I was appointed chairman of the consortium,” Thakaso said, adding that every company had their own investor.
He said Moleleki asked that they should do away with the investors that they respectively had on the basis that he would provide them with the investors he already had.
He said months passed without the minister’s investor coming on board.

“I only spoke over the phone with the investor and at some stage I had to travel to Johannesburg to meet the minister’s investor with the aim of ending the apparent lack of commitment and bring the matter to an end,” Thakaso said. He said he was met with excuses as to why the meeting could not take place despite the fact that they had a pre-arranged meeting with him and he was already in Johannesburg.

Thakaso said he persistently questioned Moleleki about his seemingly ellusive investor who was delaying their progress but “Moleleki seemed not too keen to resolve the issue of the investor imposed on them”. Thakaso said they were later informed in writing that their prospecting licence had been revoked.
He further told thepost that Moleleki discouraged them to push their dream for Lemphane and instead offered the consortium compensation in a form of Mphokojoane mine.
He said all the companies in the consortium accepted the offer while his company was maliciously sidelined under highly questionable circumstances.
Thakaso wanted M300 million as compensation for loss of business.

Moleleki is now the deputy Prime Minister of the four-party coalition government.
He is the leader of Alliance of Democrats which has formed a coalition government with All Basotho Convention, Basotho National Party and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho.
Efforts to get comment from Moleleki were not successful last night.

Majara Molupe

Previous Farmer in trouble over wool export
Next Metsing still holed up in SA

About author

You might also like

News

‘We are producing too many teachers’

  Staff Reporter MASERU EDUCATION Minister Mahali Phamotse says Lesotho’s tertiary institutions are churning out too many teachers leaving most of them without jobs. Phamotse told Parliament last week that

Local News

Victory for Mosothoane

Leisa Leisanyane MASERU – THE path has been paved for Leonia Mosothoane, a director of Smally Trading Company (Pty) Ltd, to sue the police for damages after the ministry awarded

News

Police fire brigade caught napping

Staff Reporter MASERU – THE police’s fire brigade was caught literally napping last week when a haulage truck belonging to Executive Transport overturned and burnt to ashes. The truck was