MASERU — Five people were arrested at Setsoto Stadium for selling fake tickets during the Matlama-Supersport match last Sunday.
The five, aged between 22 and 27, appeared in the Maseru Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday to answer charges of fraud.
They were each granted bail of M200.
They are expected to appear in court again on March 1.
The crown accuses the five — Nkunyane Rapotso, Mabea Tabi, Sepono Seretse, Poone Ntsie and Makonosoang Ntsie — of defrauding the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) of M150 000.
Two of the accused — Poone Ntsie and Makonosoang Ntsie — are married and are both employed by Epic Printers, a firm that prints match tickets for Lefa.
“The accused are charged with the crime of fraud in that upon or about the 13th day of February 2011 at or near Setsoto Stadium . . . the accused did unlawfully . . . and with intent to steal from the Lesotho Football Association sold to potential spectators of Matlama-Supersport game fraudulently obtained tickets,” the court papers read.
The crown alleges that the five had prejudiced Lefa of M150 000 when they sold the fake tickets.
Lefa chief executive officer, Mofihli Makoele, said the problem of fake tickets was common during big matches.
Makoele said they experienced similar problems during the Lesotho Under-20 match against Malawi which was played at Setsoto last month.
He said this time the association was more alert to clamp down on the ticket scam.
“Normally our tickets bear the national flag. But during the Malawi-Lesotho match, we removed the Lesotho flag and replaced it with Lefa’s flag.
“But because these people have been studying the trend that our tickets bear the national flag, they thought we were going to make the same tickets and started producing fake ones,” Makoele said.
He said last Sunday the association decided to print tickets with watermarks to deal with the problem of fake tickets.
Makoele said the police were immediately alerted after officers manning the gates discovered fake tickets.
“After discovering the fake tickets, one of the officers asked those involved where they had bought the tickets.
“Our officer, who was accompanied by a police officer, pretended to be interested in buying a ticket and that this is how they were caught,” Makoele said.
The tickets were each sold at M30 for the Royal Stand, M20 for other stands of the stadium and M10 for children.