MKM boss enters political fray

…Thebe-ea-Khale to represent ABC in next year’s parliamentary elections

Lekhetho Ntsukunyane

Embattled MKM boss, Simon Thebe-ea-Khale, will represent the All Basotho Convention (ABC) in next year’s parliamentary elections, the Lesotho Times has learnt.

Mr Thebe-ea-Khale yesterday confirmed he would contest the Hloahloeng constituency in Mohale’s Hoek after emerging victorious in the party’s primary elections.

“I have already been confirmed as a candidate for Hloahloeng by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

“However, I am yet to address MKM staff about this, and also need to meet the ABC NEC first before I go to the media about my entry into politics,” Mr Thebe-ea-Khale said.

“In fact, I will be holding a press conference where I will brief you all and the nation at large, about why I decided to join politics.

“But it will have to be after I have received the mandate to do so from the ABC because this is my home now and the party I will be representing in my constituency in February next year.”

Meanwhile, Mr Thebe-ea-Khale’s sudden foray into active politics comes in the middle of a legal showdown over MKM, which the courts ruled in 2011, that it should be liquidated because it was insolvent.

MKM Group—comprising MKM Marketing Ltd, Star Lion Group Ltd, Star Lion Insurance Ltd and Star Lion Gold Coin Investment (Pty) Ltd—was shut down in 2007 by the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) for operating illegal banking and insurance businesses.

A CBL-commissioned investigation conducted by South Africa’s PricewaterhouseCoopers, also revealed of the M400 million invested by depositors, the company could only account for M100 million in assets that included buildings and vehicles.

The CBL then applied for MKM’s liquidation in the High Court, citing the company’s liabilities were much more than its assets. The application was granted on 18 May 2011, and upheld on 21 October 2011 by the Court of Appeal, after the company had challenged the ruling.

The judgment paved the way for MKM’s liquidation, leaving an estimated 400 000 depositors who had expected to reap super profits from a Ponzi scheme Thebe-ea-Khale was operating, stranded and unsure if they would ever recover their funds.

MKM’s six buildings in Maseru were set to go under the hammer at Lesotho Sun on 17 November 2014, but the auction was disrupted by an angry mob which stormed the hotel and beat-up the coordinator of the sale, Stefan Carl Buys.

However, the auction went ahead in Ladybrand, South Africa, later that day, with five of the six properties being ‘sold’ while the other building was withdrawn due to “legal complications”.

But in a new twist to the saga, the High Court 26 November this year cancelled the auction, effectively nullifying the 17 November sale pending the finalisation of a new application 11 depositors had filed before the court the same morning.

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