The case that sank the boss

MASERU — At the centre of the case are allegations that Tlelai illegally occupied a piece of land on which he was quarrying atop the Mokunutlung plateau.

Tlelai opened a quarry mine without the approval of the Mohlakeng Community Council.

He was charged with contravention the Land Act.

The charges sprang from a dispute that Tlelai had with the community of Mokunutlung, a village falling under the jurisdiction of the Mohlakeng Community Council.

The community complained that it had never given Tlelai that piece of land.

The case has been in and out of the courts with each party refusing to back down.

In 2008 the community through their chiefs, Lehlola Mofoka and Ramatsoso Mofoka, won a High Court order interdicting Tlelai from continuing to operate his quarry in their area.

Tlelai lost the case after he failed to produce documents to prove that he had been allocated the land.

The Mohlakeng Community Council gave the land to a company called Mops Civil Construction.

But despite the order Tlelai continued mining the area.

The community then filed a civil suit demanding that Tlelai vacates the land immediately.

High Court Judge Maseforo Mahase ruled in the community’s favour.

Tlelai however still refused to give up the land arguing that it was allocated to him by the Qeme community.

Instead Tlelai launched a legal fight to remain on the land and continue his quarrying operations.

He sued the community council for allocating the quarry to Mops.

Irked by Tlelai’s action Chief Mofoka approached the court in February requesting that the businessman be charged with contempt of court.

In May the business was brought before the court to show cause why he should not be jailed for contempt of court.

His explanation did not satisfy Justice Mahase who proceeded to convict him but postponed the sentencing to September 1.

Yesterday, Tlelai met his comeuppance.

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