Mohaleroe, son ordered to return LMPTC money

MASERU — The Commercial Court has ordered a local lawyer to demand every cent received and spent by Makhoabe Mohaleroe and his son Pule Mohaleroe when they fraudulently took over a local transport firm two years ago.

Justice John Lyons last week ruled that Mahaleroe and his son had fraudulently muscled their way into Lesotho Public Motor Transport Company (LPMTC), a company owned by the Lesotho Bus and Taxi Owners’ Association.

Justice Lyons said Mohaleroe’s claim to a stake and directorship of LPMTC was not valid because his previous conviction for fraud disqualified him from holding a directorship of any company.

The judge said Mohaleroe’s son Pule should also be disqualified as a director of LPMTC because he was part of the fraudulent appointment that was orchestrated by his father.

The ruling followed a protracted battle over the company between the Mohaleroes and a group led by retired politician Moeketsi Tsatsanyane.

On Tuesday, Justice Lyons ordered LMPTC’s lawyer Tekane Maqakachane to “immediately write a letter of demand” to Mohaleroe and his son demanding that they pay back money they earned when they were running the company.

While the battle was raging in court Mohaleroe and his son collected money from LMPTC’s tenants.

Lyons made the order in his chambers after he threw out Mohaleroe’s application for stay of execution.

The Mohaleroes wanted a reprieve to continue collecting rentals from LMPTC tenants.

Ishmael Monare, a trustee of LMPTC, told the Lesotho Times yesterday that the company lawyer Maqakachane told them that Lyons said Mohaleroe and his son “should account for every cent they received and spent during the time they purported to be directors”.

“Maqakachane has been specifically ordered to demand our money from Mohaleroe and his son,” Monare said.

“I am happy that the company funds will be recovered from them,” he said.

Monare said they were yet to calculate how much the Mohaleroes had received since they claimed the LPMTC directorship in May 2008.

Mohaleroe’s lawyer, Letuka Molati, said in an interview that executing Lyons’ judgment would be prejudicial to his clients.

“It is common knowledge that the new board has been registered and perhaps it has collected rentals from the tenants for this month,” Molati said.

“Then, what will happen if our appeal application is upheld? We will be unnecessarily burdened with reversing the execution of this order,” he said.

In his ruling last week Judge Lyons ordered the Register of Companies to register the new LPMTC’s board of directors “with immediate effect” without Mohaleroe and his son.

The Mohaleroes were interdicted from entering the LPMTC’s premises “and from interfering in any manner whatsoever in the property and with the tenants”.

Mohaleroe’s grounds for stay of last week’s order by Justice Lyons was that he would be prejudiced because he was filing an appeal in the Lesotho Court of Appeal, which will sit in October.

The battle for LPMTC started early last year when Tsatsanyane and his group were barred from registering themselves as the new company directors by the Registrar of Companies.

The Registrar of Companies said Tsatsanyane and his group could not be recognised as directors because the Mohaleroes had already claimed the directorship.

Tsatsanyane’s attempt to eject Mohaleroe from the board on the basis that he was a convict failed after Mohaloroe was granted leave to be a director by the High Court.

In his ruling last week, Justice Lyons criticised the High Court’s decision to grant leave to Mohaleroe to remain a director.

“I could not have granted him leave,” Justice Lyons said, adding that the fact that Mohaleroe filed the application while he was still an illegal director showed “the propensity to ignore the law”.

“Maybe I am of wrong standards. This is a question of integrity,” the judge said.

“When he became aware that he was a director illegally, he should have resigned before filing an application to be granted leave to be a director.”

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