Fresh twist to MKM rentals case

MASERU — The High Court this week dismissed an application by MKM provisional liquidators to ask the registrar of the High Court to keep rentals collected from the Agric Bank Building pending the finalisation of the case in October.
High Court judge Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi on Monday dismissed the case immediately after lawyers for the two sides had argued in his chambers.
Advocate Makhetha Motšoari, who is part of the team of lawyers representing MKM, told the Lesotho Times this week that the judge did not give reasons for the dismissal of the provisional liquidators’ application.
“But he said since it had come to his attention that the liquidators had already filed the same case in the Court of Appeal they should continue with it at that level,” Motšoari said.
The Agric Bank Building belongs to the Star Lion Group, one of the MKM companies which are under liquidation.
The fight on who should collect and keep rentals from that building started on July 4 when six Star Lion Group shareholders moved an application in the High Court seeking an order to stop provisional liquidators from collecting the rentals from the building.
The six shareholders are ’Mamotlatsi Raphuthing, Matšeliso Selongoana, Litsebe Mokhachane, Nthabiseng Molete, Anna Mokoma and ’Maseabata Murray.
On the same day Justice Monaphathi ordered that the tenants at the Agric Bank Building should pay their rentals to the Master of the High Court.
But on July 11 the liquidators asked Justice Monaphathi to cancel his order that rentals should be paid to the Master of the High Court because the Master did not have a bank account.
They suggested that the rentals be paid into Webber Newdigate’s trust account.
Webber Newdigate is a prominent local law firm.
Justice Monaphathi changed the previous order and ruled in favour of the provisional liquidators.
But two days after the order the six shareholders in the building filed an urgent application asking Justice Monaphathi to rescind his order because it was granted based on incorrect information which had been supplied to him.
Advocate Motšoari said this time around, shareholders maintained that the Master of the High Court had a bank account and the office of the Master of the High Court wrote a letter to confirm the status.
But before the application was argued the Court of Appeal on July 16 ordered that the execution of the High Court judgment to liquidate MKM should be stayed until the Court of Appeal finalises the case in October.
Advocate Motšoari said MKM lawyers approached Justice Monaphathi on July 18, two days after the Court of Appeal judgment, to suggest to him that it would not be necessary to continue with the battle on who should collect and keep rentals because the Court of Appeal had already ordered that the liquidation process should be stayed.
But on the same day the liquidators filed another application seeking an order to ask the registrar of the High Court to keep rentals collected from the Agric Bank Building pending finalisation of the case in October because they were not comfortable with allowing MKM managing director Simon Thebe-ea-Khale to continue collecting rentals.
Justice Monaphathi then dismissed their case on Monday.
This means the tenants will continue paying their rentals to MKM.
It is estimated that MKM collects about M200 000 in rentals from the Agric Bank Building every month.
High Court acting judge Justice John Musi, in his May judgment, appointed Chavonnes Badenhorst from St Clair Cooper in Bloemfontein and Daniel Gerhardus Roberts from Webber Newdigate as joint provisional liquidators.
MKM is facing liquidation after it failed to account for M300 million of the M400 million it unlawfully collected from depositors.

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