Majoro, Frazer Solar gets uglier

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Mohalenyane Phakela

FRAZER Solar has denied allegations that its managing director, Robert Frazer, fraudulently entered into a M1, 7 billion solar energy deal with the previous Thomas Thabane administration.

This after the DCEO recently revealed that it had secured a warrant for Mr Frazer’s arrest for alleged fraud in connection with the botched 2018 deal for the German company to supply Lesotho with solar power.

Mr Frazer signed on behalf of his company while then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Temeki Tšolo, signed on behalf of the government.

The warrant for Mr Frazer’s arrest was issued by the Maseru Magistrates’ Court at the instigation of the DCEO. However, the German company denies any wrongdoing on its managing director’s part.

Instead it accuses Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro of pushing for Mr Frazer’s arrest for his own political ends.

In a statement this week, the company said, “Frazer Solar utterly refutes any allegations of fraud.

“This latest step by Ntate Majoro is nothing more than a desperate attempt by a dying regime to try to extricate itself from a problem of its own making.

“Instead of helping his case, Ntate Majoro is digging a deeper hole for himself.  The Majoro administration risks further damage to itself and to the reputation of Lesotho.  Lesotho is highly reliant on foreign aid and foreign funding. Dragging foreign nationals and officials into domestic political issues via bogus criminal charges risks this vital financial lifeline for the kingdom.”

Not only was Dr Majoro attacking Frazer Solar, he was also insinuating that the German government was involved in fraudulent dealings in Lesotho. This would not end well for Lesotho, the company claimed.

“Frazer Solar’s project was to be funded by the German government via its wholly-owned bank KFW.  By accusing Frazer Solar of fraud, it appears that Ntate Majoro is implying the German government is involved in the fraud too.  Majoro’s own words in his affidavit supports this narrative as he states the alleged fraud was conducted by Lesotho officials in ‘collaboration with individuals from abroad.’ This presumably refers to German government officials in addition to Frazer Solar personnel, as these were the only foreign individuals involved.  Should Ntate Majoro continue down this path and accuse German government officials of fraud, especially when it is completely without merit, it is unlikely to end well for Lesotho.

“Basotho must ask themselves who they believe — the German government or Ntate Majoro.  The German government was to fund Frazer Solar’s Lesotho project and it subsequently funded further Frazer Solar projects in Eswatini.  It is apparent, with all their checks and balances, they trusted and continue to trust Frazer Solar,” the company states.

It further alleges that the arrest warrant against Mr Frazer Solar is part of a desperate attempt by Dr Majoro to boost his waning fortunes ahead of the two parties’ court appearances in connection with the matter.

“It is telling that despite the warrant being issued in April 2022, no attempt has been made to contact Frazer Solar’s legal team, all of whom are well known to the Government of Lesotho.  Issuing a warrant of arrest, with an illegible signature and one that nobody in Lesotho seems to be aware of, is highly suspicious. It all seems very convenient and designed to help bolster Ntate Majoro’s flagging fortunes ahead of the upcoming court appearance in September.

“Frazer Solar challenges Ntate Majoro, or anyone else that has any evidence of corruption or fraud, to immediately disclose it.  If no such proof is forthcoming, then Basotho must see through this sham.

“No amount of threats or coercion against our personnel will lessen our resolve to continue to pursue this action (for damages) and enforce our rights.  Broadening the fight to frame foreign officials on bogus charges is counterproductive, self-destructive and ultimately even more costly for all Basotho,” Frazer Solar states.

On her part, DCEO spokesperson, ‘Matlhokomelo Senoko, said the anti-graft body would not react to Frazer Solar’s statement.

“We do not think there is any need for us to say anything on the matter. We stand by the warrant of arrest and what is needed is for Mr Frazer to come and prove his innocence before the courts of law,” Ms Senoko said in an interview this week.

Frazer Solar was in 2020 awarded £50 million (M856 million) damages for the government’s alleged breach of the 2018 ‘deal’. Frazer Solar insists it had a valid agreement that was signed by Mr Tšolo. The project was not implemented due to current Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s dogged refusal to sign the financing agreement when he was finance minister under the Thabane government.

The DCEO began probing the botched deal in the aftermath of the Gauteng High Court’s April 2021 judgement endorsing the damages award to Frazer Solar. The Lesotho government has since challenged the Gauteng High Court decision in the same court and in the Lesotho High Court. Both applications are pending.

The DCEO says its preliminary investigations into the abortive deal revealed that the agreement was “marred by corruption right from the beginning”.

DCEO acting Director General, Sefako Seema, made the claim in a confidential 9 June 2021 letter to then-acting Attorney General, Ntebaleng Morojele, who has since been replaced by Advocate Rapelang Motsieloa.

Adv Seema’s letter has been attached to the Lesotho government’s Gauteng High Court application for a stay in the execution of the same court’s order endorsing a South African arbitration award for £50 million (M856 million) damages to Frazer Solar.

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