A MULTIMILLION maloti fraud and theft case involving former Standard Lesotho Bank employees and some businesspeople yesterday took a new twist after a lawyer representing one of the defendants withdrew from the case.
Advocate ‘Mole Khumalo told High Court judge, Justice ‘Maseshophe Hlajoane, he was withdrawing from the case after being informed his client, ‘Mamakae ‘Mefane, no longer required his services.
Advocate Khumalo said he had been told of the development yesterday morning by Assistant Registrar Staford Sharite.
“I was supposed to be appearing for accused number two, (Ms ‘Mefane) but there are some developments that I have learnt from the learned registrar (Mr Sharite) that I have to withdraw from the matter,” he said.
“It seems she wants to be represented by someone else.”
Ms ‘Mefane and Mamello Makote are former Standard Lesotho Bank employees accused of committing the fraud and theft offences in 2013 while still in the employ of the financial institution.
The duo were jointly charged with three businesspeople and their companies.
The businessmen are Karabo Moohlo, who owns KB General Dealers and KB Construction Ltd; Thato Tšosane who owns Tšosane Transport and Construction Services and ‘Mabotsang ‘Matsoso who owns Mohau Transport (Pty) Limited.
They are all accused of defrauding the government of M4.3 million that was kept at Standard Lesotho Bank between February and April 2013.
After the surprise withdrawal from the case by Advocate Khumalo, Justice Hlajoane called all the prosecution and the defence lawyers to her chambers.
Upon their return, the judge announced the postponement of the case to Monday next week.
“We postpone this matter because A2 (accused number two) will no longer be represented by Mr Khumalo,” said Justice Hlajoane.
“She (Ms ‘Mefane) has to get another legal representative who would need some time to study the files. This calls for a postponement and this matter is postponed to Monday 15 August 2016.”
Advocate Khumalo had been appointed by the High Court to represent Ms ‘Mefane because she could not afford her own lawyer.
His removal means the High Court would have to find another lawyer to represent Ms ‘Mefane at the court’s expense.
The case was supposed to start on Tuesday but postponed to yesterday after two defence lawyers, Advocates Khumalo and Lepeli Molapo, were not present due to other commitments.
The accused are still on bail.