Lioli fights take new twist

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Moorosi Tsiane

THE infighting at Lioli has taken a new twist after the interim committee on Monday approached the High Court seeking to interdict its supporters and patrons from interfering with the running of the team.

In the application which will be heard today in the High Court, the team’s lawyer Christopher Lephuthing petitioned the court to direct patrons Chief Semphe Masupha and former president Lebohang Thotanyana to stop interfering with the team’s business.

The court bid comes on the back of a fractious period where the team failed to pay July salaries after their sponsors and tenants were ordered to freeze payments to the interim committee because it was “illegitimate”. The sponsors, Alliance Insurance Company and tenants Ramatheola Supermarket were ordered to stop remitting funds to the committee by Chief Masupha. He however, retracted his letter and the funds were released two weeks ago.

The District Football Association (DIFA) Berea, the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC), the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA), the Commissioner of Police Holomo Molibeli, the Officer in Charge Berea Police Station, Standard Lesotho Bank, Chief Masupha, Thotanyana, Hlalele Matobako (general manager), the Disputes and Protests Committee (DISPROCO) Berea, Alliance Insurance Company and the Attorney General are first to 12th respondents.

The court case also comes on the back of DIFA Berea’s Monday ruling that the interim committee must vacate office. Lioli supporters had dragged the interim committee before the DISPROCO challenging its legality.

The legality was challenged on the basis that the committee should have called for an annual general meeting (AGM) in July, a month before the meeting this month as stipulated by the team’s constitution.

The DISPROCO ruled that that the acting committee was illegal as three of its members were co-opted without having the club membership.

The DISPROCO then ordered that the interim committee should vacate office and the signatories for Lioli accounts should stop signing for the teams’ money. The team has been ordered to go for elections on 30th August and Matobako was appointed the chief executive officer and assigned to prepare for the elections working along with Chief Masupha.

In its application to be heard today, the committee wants the court to bar Thotanyana and Chief Masupha from interfering with the club’s business.

“An application will be made before this honourable court on behalf of Lioli for an order in a following terms: An order interdicting the respondents from interfering with the processes incidental to payment of salaries for the players or rights in respect of benefits from sponsors of the Lioli pending finalisation of this matter,” reads the papers.

“…Lebohang Thotanyana be directed to dispatch, produce and avail the master and servant contract of service between Lioli and Hlalele Matobako, the contract which Lioli signed with Alliance Insurance Company respondent and all partnerships contracts that exist between the parties within seven days.”

The committee also wants the court should review the SISPROCO’s decision to appoint Matobako as the Lioli’s chief executive officer.

The committee also wants the freezing of the club’s Standard Lesotho Bank account to be declared illegal.

“A declaratory order that freezing of the bank account of Lioli by standard Lesotho Bank on the 20th August in collusion with Lebohang Thotanyana was illegal and unlawful.”

In his affidavit, Lioli interim president Lephethasang Hlajoane Lesaoana accused Thotanyana of holding the teams’ belongings and refusing to give them back.

He further said Thotanyana went on to scold their sponsors employees accusing them of risking their jobs should they give them the contracts between the two parties.

“…We have not enjoyed support from Thotanyana, he refused to hand over contracts that Lioli signed with Alliance Insurance Company, information regarding the employment contract of Matobako and other files of the club in his possession.

“Instead of providing the demanded documents, he went on to scold Alliance employees accusing them of putting their employment at risk if they release such contracts to us. He painted a picture that we are illegally in control of the club in broad strokes. He again went to the Standard Lesotho Bank and said we have not been democratically elected into office and or that we are refusing to hold an AGM. The bank froze our account pursuant to his misinterpretations and without consulting us on the matter,” Lesaoana said.

Lesaoana said this inconvenienced the players as they couldn’t be paid their July salaries. He said there was a danger that the DISPROCO’s decision would contradict the provisions of the club’s constitution.

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