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Judgment expected today in M2.8 million fraud case

by Lesotho Times
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MASERU — High Court judge Tséliso Monaphathi is today expected to pass final judgment in a case in which a former accountant with the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) is facing fraud charges.

The former accountant, Peggy Thakeli, is facing M2.8 million fraud charges.

Reading a lengthy judgment on Tuesday, Justice Monaphathi said state witnesses who had been called to testify against Thakeli were credible.

The prosecution says Thakeli facilitated the fraudulent withdrawal of M2.4 million from the LHDA’s ABSA Bank account in South Africa in 2004.

It alleged that Thakeli transferred the funds into a First National Bank (FNB) account belonging to one Soleman Sameer.

The crown says Thakeli facilitated the fraudulent payment of hardware materials from a non-existent company, Iketsetseng Hardware.

Justice Monaphathi said evidence presented before the court had firmly fingered Thakeli as the facilitator of the fraudulent scheme.

Monaphathi said a Telecom Lesotho employee, Seqalo Phenya, had told the court that he had been contacted by Thakeli’s lover, Steven Dlamini, to instal telephone lines at his place to facilitate the fraudulent activities.

“Phenya clearly told this court that when they were installing the telephone line and fixing a fax machine at Dlamini’s place the accused (Thakeli) was present.

“It was also mentioned that the telephone would be answered by Thakeli,” said Monaphathi in his judgment.

The court heard that the telephone line was intended to divert LHDA calls to Dlamini’s place. The fax was programmed in a way that it would appear to be an LHDA fax, the court heard.

It is alleged that the same fax was used to give payment instructions to ABSA Bank for the withdrawal of M2.4 million, the court heard.

Monaphathi said Phenya’s evidence, which implicated Thakeli, was reliable.

“I have no reason to disbelieve this witness because he identified the accused (Thakeli) as the lady who drove a green BMW car,” said Monaphathi.

Other witnesses whom Monaphathi said have implicated Thakeli were Thakeli’s co-workers whom Monaphathi said have identified Thakeli’s hand writing on the copies of documents which gave payment instructions to ABSA.

However Monaphathi could not finish reading the bulky judgment on Tuesday saying he would continue delivering the judgment today.

The judge is likely to finish handing over judgment in the case today.

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