Law firm wins M16 500 suit against LDF chief

MASERU – The magistrates’ court last week ordered army commander Thuso Motanyane to pay M16 500 to a Maseru law firm for services rendered by the firm to the army.

Maieane & Company had approached the court after the army failed to pay for legal services rendered by the firm three years ago.

The law firm’s chairman Advocate Tsúpane Maieane said they were engaged by the LDF to represent three of its army officers who had been dragged to court to answer charges of public violence.

The officers were charged after allegedly assaulting Phanda Mofolo, a resident of Thaba-Tseka, 162 kilometres east of Maseru.

Magistrate Tséliso Bale granted Maieane’s firm the relief it sought.

“The court grants the application as prayed,” ordered Bale.

The court papers stipulate that the army commander’s office had instructed and engaged Maieane’s services to embark upon legal services on behalf of the said soldiers.

“From the 6th March 2006 until the 5th December 2006 the 1st defendant (LDF commander) has instructed and engaged the services of the plaintiff to embark upon legal services on behalf of the 1st defendant’s ex-officers, who were faced with litigation in criminal case 72/2006,” read the court papers.

Maieane in his affidavit said the army commander only paid M750 for some of the trips from Maseru to Thaba-Tseka where the case was held.

“Despite numerous attempts to demand outstanding legal fees for services rendered the 1st defendant has failed and/or neglected to pay for the said legal services,” said Maieane in court papers.

Maieane told the Lesotho Times that there was agreement between the law firm and the army authorities to represent the three soldiers with the legal firm being paid for services rendered.

“This agreement was reached after I was informed by the army authorities that an assault was committed when the said soldiers were on duty,” said Maieane.

But after he submitted the claim forms to the army authorities, the authorities indicated to him that they were not prepared to pay for the services rendered by the law firm.

“When I submitted my claims I was told that even though there was an agreement to represent such soldiers, I proceeded with their case while negotiations were still underway,” said Maieane.

However on date of hearing of Maieane’s claim on Tuesday last week, the defendants’ attorneys agreed that Maieane’s claim be granted.

The defendants in the case were Motanyane, attorney general Ts’okolo Makhethe and Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili in his capacity as the defence minister.

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