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Acquitted school principal demands compensation

by Lesotho Times
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MASERU — A former acting school principal at Sekonyela High School in Mokhotlong who was accused but acquitted of embezzling funds is now demanding M100 100 from the school board.

Mampine Lengoasa was in 2005 accused of embezzling M20 000 donated by a well-wisher to the school.

But a school committee set up to probe the allegations failed to find any evidence to prove that Lengoasa had embezzled any money.

The committee, chaired by Mathealira Khatleli, ordered that Lengoasa be reinstated to her position.

On Tuesday, Lengoasa took the case to the High Court demanding compensation for the ‘malicious prosecution’ by the school board.

She wants M10 000 for the costs she paid her lawyer, Advocate P V Tsenoli, to defend herself during the disciplinary hearing.

She also wants M50 000 for pain and suffering incurred during the suspension and M40 000 for discomfort and M100 for the cost of the suit.

Lengoasa told the High Court on Tuesday that her dignity as principal was “damaged” as the public was confused about what was happening following her suspension.

She said the community which had full trust in her ability had also changed its attitude as they now regarded her as someone who embezzled school funds.

“I was severely affected during the two months I was suspended. The school board accused me of hiding information which they needed for their investigation,” Lengoasa said.

Lengoasa said the school board had unilaterally suspended her without giving her a chance to defend herself before the school committee.

Lengoasa said her troubles began in 2008 when some members of the school board accused her of using money without their consent.

“They accused me of not issuing financial statements in 2005 and using school funds without telling the school board.

“I used to involve the board when doing major projects like buying of building material.

“My duty was to ensure that the school funds were deposited in the school account and teachers were paid,” she said.

She said the school had in 2006 received a donation of M20 000 from local businessman, Samuel Matekane, in the form of a cheque.

“The school committee knew about the cheque as we had all agreed how we were going to use the money,” she said.

She also told the High Court that during her tenure she had compiled financial reports and presented these before the school committee but the committee had refused to accept the reports.

“They were harassing me because they wanted me to be fired,” she said.

Lengoasa is being represented by Advocate Chris Lephuthing and the defendants’ are represented by Advocate ‘Maselone Nkaota.

The case, which is before Justice Thamsanqa Nomgnconco, continues on April 29.

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