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M500 000 theft lawyer freed on bail

by Lesotho Times
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MASERU — A Maseru lawyer, Advocate Nketsi Makhera, who is facing a M500 000 theft charge for illegally selling a textile firm, was freed on M500 bail on Monday.

Makhera, 32, who was the company’s provisional liquidator, is alleged to have sold C-River textile firm to a Chinese national Xie en Ming for M500 000.

“The crown’s evidence on bail application is not enough to sustain an objection that the accused be admitted bail,” magistrate ‘Mampho Mokoena said in her ruling on Monday.

Makhera, who was impeccably dressed in a black and white tracksuit top, did not show any sign of uneasiness during the hearing. He would sometimes stare at the C-River workers who swarmed the court to hear the case.

The crown, represented by prosecutor Gcinimuzi Tshabalala, had earlier during the hearing vigorously opposed the granting of bail arguing that if Makhera was released on bail he would abscond as he was facing a serious charge.

Tshabalala also argued that Makhera was likely to interfere with police investigations.

Makhera’s lawyer, Thabang Khauoe, said denying his client bail on the grounds that he was facing a serious charge would be a violation of his client’s constitutional liberties and the principle that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“(The provision that) a man is presumed innocent still exists and is guaranteed in our constitution,” Khauoe argued.

But the court said the crown’s evidence opposing the granting of bail was not strong enough and ordered that Makhera pay a bail of M500. It however ordered that he attends remands and stand trial to finality.

Makhera was also ordered not to interfere with crown witnesses and police investigations. He was also ordered to secure surety of M10 000 from a Lesotho national who has a valid passport and owns immovable property in the country.

Makhera was appointed a provisional liquidator of C-River company on February 8 2008 to sell the firm on behalf of creditors and pay the staff of the textile company.

In a one-page indictment, the crown alleges that Makhera sold the company to Ming between March 12 and 19 2008 for M500 000. Instead of paying the creditors, Makhera went on to convert the money to his own use, the crown alleges.

In opposing bail, the crown called the investigating police officer, Detective Inspector Thabo Lesholu, who told the court that Makhera had refused and failed to co-operate with the police.

“Advocate Makhera failed to co-operate with me from day one by being dishonest. We agreed to have a meeting with creditors on a particular day but he did not come, he could not attend the meeting,” Lesholu said.

“If he is put away in prison, it will ensure he does not to interfere with investigations,” Lesholu said.

The case was remanded to April 27.

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