MASERU — Five employees of First National Bank (FNB) who are facing charges of defrauding a local garage of M216 000 yesterday agreed on a plea bargain deal undertaking to repay the money.
The agreement was drawn by crown counsel Advocate Sefako Seema and defence lawyers for the accused Advocate Shale Shale and Lepedi Molapo.
The two parties told Chief Magistrate Molefi Makara yesterday they expect to have finished their draft agreement today which the court should translate into a court order.
The accused, who are bank tellers at FNB, are Mookho Motloi, Mamello Mona, Lineo Masupha, Thuso Ramatlapeng, Lehlohonolo Tsikinyane.
The sixth employee, identified only as M Mohasi is now deceased.
Also accused is one Khotso Mapeshoane, a partner at L K Filling Station which is at the centre of the fraud allegations.
The six are accused of defrauding the garage of M216 000 over a 10-month period.
In count one, Mapeshoane and Motloi are accused of “unlawfully and with intent to defraud” misrepresent that they had deposited M38 280 into L K Filling Station’s bank account at FNB.
“And whereas by means of the said misrepresentation the accused induced the prejudiced parties to believe that the M38 280 was deposited into L K Station’s bank account at FNB whereas the accused knew fully well that the said money was never deposited into L K Filling Station’s account but into (Mapeshoane) bank account,” said the charge sheet.
“And at all material times relevant to this charge the accused associated themselves with the acts or actions of one another in a joint unlawful enterprise and thus acting in common purpose.”
The crown says the accused were therefore guilty of fraud.
The crown also alleges that on December 30, 2006, the accused with intent to defraud misrepresented that M11 255 that had been taken to FNB had been deposited correctly into L K Filling Station’s bank account.
“Whereas, the accused knew at all relevant times that the foregoing representations were false, and by means of the said misrepresentation the accused induced the prejudiced parties to believe to their prejudice that the said M11 255 was deposited into the L K Station’s bank account, whereas the accused knew well that the said money was never deposited into L K Filling Station’s bank account,” the crown says.
In total the accused are facing 11 separate counts related to fraud and theft.
On January 19, 2007, the accused also fraudulently took M15 195 which was to be deposited into L K Filling Station’s bank account at FNB.
The charge also alleges that the accused had through fraud and misrepresentation unlawfully took M26 775 that should have been deposited into L K Filling Station’s bank account.
The details of the plea bargain agreement are due to be disclosed before the presiding magistrate Molefi Makara today.
Meanwhile, the court has warned management at FNB to release the accused to attend court sessions.
The warning came after one of the defence lawyers brought to the court’s attention that management at FNB were pressing the accused to sign leave forms when attending court.
The magistrate sternly warned an FNB supervisor who was in court, Lepipi Motanyane, that “refusing to let the accused attend court is contemptuous of the court and defeating the ends of justice”.