Maseru lawyer, Advocate Thulo Hoeane yesterday appeared before the Maseru Magistrate’s Court charged with fraud.
Advocate Hoeane (52) was arrested at his Lower Thamae home on 16 June 2016 over M15 000 the lawyer allegedly owes a Botswana man.
He was taken to Police Headquarters where he was interrogated and detained pending his appearance in court the following day.
The lawyer was, however, released late in the afternoon the same day on condition he reported to Police Headquarters at 8am on 17 June to be taken to the Maseru Magistrate’s Court.
But the Lesotho Times learned yesterday that Advocate Heaney could not be taken to court that day because the police had not finalized the charges against him. The lawyer only made his first appearance before the court yesterday.
During his brief court appearance, Advocate Hoeane was charged with “wrong application of funds in contravention of section 58(1) read with section 109 of Penal Code Act No.6 of 2010”.
The charge sheet further reads: “Upon or about the dates between 26 August and 17 September 2008, and at or near First National Bank (FNB) in the Maseru district, the said accused, having been in lawful possession of money in the amount of M15 000 belonging to Shadrack Molefhangwe, did wrongfully apply that money (M15 000) to his own use or wrongfully apply the said money to use other than for which he understood the owner to have entrusted it to his possession thus committed the offence.”
After pleading not guilty, Advocate Hoeane was released “on his own recognizance”, meaning without any bail conditions, with the prosecution citing it trusted the lawyer would be in court when his trial resumes on 5 July 2016.
Although the evidence is yet to be led in court, police spokesperson Lerato Motseki, last week told the Lesotho Times that Advocate Hoeane owed Mr Molefhangwe M15 000 which he had given to the lawyer to secure him a residential site in Maseru, but failed.
Mr Molefhangwe is married to a Mosotho and wanted to reside in Lesotho following the marriage, Senior Inspector Motseki explained.
She added Mr Molefhangwe had reported Advocate Hoeane to the police after the lawyer allegedly failed to assist him although he had already paid him the money.
Senior Inspector Motseki said after the police intervened, Advocate Hoeane paid the man M2000 in 2014.
However, Advocate Hoeane told the Lesotho Times that he only owed the man M4000. The lawyer also said he believed the arrest had nothing to do with the money but the high-profile cases he is handling.
Advocate Hoeane is currently representing Koalabata double ritual murder suspects, Lehlohonolo Scott and his mother ’Malehlohonolo. The two are accused of allegedly killing their neighbours, Moholobela Seetsa (13) and Kamohelo Mohata (22), in January and July 2012, respectively. The victims’ body parts were found in three locations in Koalabata, prompting speculation they had been killed for ritual purposes.