Lesotho’s assets seized

Lesotho’s assets seized

MASERU – LESOTHO’s international assets are being seized to pay off an M855 million claim by a German company accusing the government of breaching a contract.
The contract with Frazer Solar was signed by former minister Temeki Tšolo in September 2018 when he was a Minister in Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s office. Frazer was to supply Lesotho with solar water heaters, solar lanterns and LEC lights.

Tšolo has however denied signing the contract and says he suspects his signature was forged.
The government has said it’s investigating what happened.
But while the government is battling to get a handle on the issues, Frazer Solar is moving fast to impound Lesotho’s assets.

Following the Arbitrator’s award in January 2020, the company has been granted enforcement orders in South Africa, Mauritius and the United Kingdom. Another enforcement application is pending in a United States court.

On April 29 this year Frazer Solar won an order granting it permission to confiscate the royalties that South Africa pays to Lesotho under the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP).
Those royalties are estimated to be in the region of M100 million every month and they sustain the operations of the LHWP and the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA).
They also provide substantial income to the government to fund its operations. The money that Eskom owed to Lesotho for the electricity under the LHWP has also been confiscated.

On May 19 the Supreme Court of Mauritius granted Frazer Solar an order to seize the five percent stake that Lesotho owns in West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC). The shares are owned by the Lesotho Communications Authority but are considered Lesotho government assets because it owns the regulator.

Registered in Mauritius, WIOCC is a broadband service wholesaler to several countries. It is owned by 14 major African telecom operators.
Frazer Solar is also armed with an enforcement order it won in September in the United Kingdom where Lesotho owns a building. The company says the Lesotho government ignored 25 notifications about arbitration and court cases over two years.

Staff Reporter

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