23 August 2017

Lesotho: Temporary Relief for Moafrika FM

Moafrika FM yesterday resumed broadcasting after the High Court ordered the Lesotho National Broadcasting Services (LNBS) to lift the suspension it imposed on the radio station last Friday.

The LNBS had suspended the operations of Moafrika FM on allegations that the radio station owed the regulating body M100 000.

Moafrika subsequently filed an urgent court application on Tuesday challenging its closure on the grounds that the authorities did not follow the due process of law when taking the measure.

Communications Minister Joang Molapo told the Lesotho Times yesterday the High Court ruling was rendered academic since the radio station had paid off its debt.

He said the respondents in the case, namely the LNBS, the Communications Ministry's Principal Secretary, the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology as well as the attorney-general had decided against opposing the application in light of the payment.

Chief Molapo also addressed the matter in a Facebook post, saying: "The truth is that the account of MoAfrika was settled in full just before lunch time today, 16 August 2017, when we received confirmation from the Central Bank that cheques deposited had cleared. At 1:06pm the Principal Secretary issued the instruction to the engineers to restore services.

"By the time we reached Court after 2pm the lawyers representing the Ministry indicated that they have no intention to oppose the application made by MoAfrika as the Ministry was happy it had received its money in full and had already restored services."

Moafrika's lawyer, Attorney Qhalehang Letsika, yesterday told Justice Molefi Makara that he had reached an agreement with the lawyer representing the respondents, Advocate Tebatso Lebakeng, that the court should grant the order directing the LNBS to lift its suspension pending finalisation of the court case.

Justice Makara granted the order.

The lawyers are expected in court on 15 September this year when the court will decide how to proceed with the matter.

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