Thabane fraud suspect granted M5k bail

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Mohalenyane Phakela

THABANG Mojakhomo, who is facing charges of defrauding the First Lady, ‘Maesaiah Thabane’s Trust Fund of M65 000, was yesterday granted M5000 bail by Maseru Magistrate Litṧitso Selialia.

Mr Mojakhomo is also expected to surrender his passport to the court as part of his bail conditions.

The court remanded the 32-year-old to 25 June 2018.

Mr Mojakhomo is accused of conniving with his wife, ‘Makarabo, who was arrested for a similar offence on 29 May this year. However, mystery surrounds ‘Makarabo’s whereabouts after the police reported her missing from their custody two days after her arrest.

On the day that ‘Makarabo disappeared, her husband was arrested and was on 4 June 2018 charged with fraud. The charges stem from the allegations that he connived with his wife to defraud ‘Maesaiah Thabane’s Trust Fund of M65 000.

Mr Mojakhomo is accused of working with his wife to misrepresent to Décor Art Furniture Shop in Ha-Hoohlo, Maseru, that they needed money for the benefit of the trust fund.

As a result of the misrepresentation, Thabang is alleged to have received M65 000 on the pretence that the money was for the benefit of the trust fund which his wife worked for.

The said offence is alleged to have been committed between February 2018 and May 2018.

Mr Mojakhomo’s lawyer Advocate Molise Molise applied for his bail on 4 June 2018 arguing that his client was not flight risk and that he had cooperated with the police during the investigations. However, the application was postponed to 8 June and again to yesterday when he was finally granted bail.

Ms Selialia said the prosecution had postponed the bail hearing from 4 June because it needed to establish whether Mr Mojakhomo would stand trial if released on bail.

“The prosecution was able to establish that the accused has a home in Marquard (South Africa) and that his children are also staying in South Africa,” Ms Selialia said.

She said the prosecution had established that the accused is unemployed and does not own a house in Lesotho hence he was likely to abscond trial by leaving the country.

His defence however, argued that Mr Mojakhomo has lived in Lesotho all his life and was willing to pay surety equivalent to the amount that he is accused of defrauding. His lawyer also indicated that the accused has a loan with a local bank which he needed service and would thus need to work.

“According to Section 12 of Lesotho’s Constitution, bail is a right. By it (Section 12 of Lesotho’s Constitution) any person arrested on suspicion of having committed a crime secures his liberty and continues to enjoy his freedom. It says an accused person is presumed innocent until proved guilty.

“However, the same Constitution empowers the court to deny bail in appropriate circumstances. Thus, in every bail case, the task is to try and strike a balance between the interests of the accused and the interests of justice.

“The accused is therefore granted bail of M5000 and surety of M40 000. He is also ordered to surrender his passport to the court and further report to the police every time that he is remanded by the court,” Ms Selialia said.

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In last week’s edition we erroneously published a picture of Regina Letsie instead of that of ‘Makarabo Mojakhomo on pages one and eight for the story that was titled: ‘Police sued over Thabane fraud suspect’.

We unreservedly apologise to Ms Letsie for the inconvenience caused to her. It was a sincere mistake on our part and there was no malice intended.- Editor

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