22 September 2017

Lesotho: Ex-Econet Boss Cleared of M1m Fraud

ECONET Telecom Lesotho (ETL) former Risk Manager, Tseko Molelekoa, is a relieved man, adding he can finally rebuild his life after he was cleared this week by the Maseru Magistrate Court of defrauding the telecommunications giant of M1 million worth of airtime.

The case was before Senior Magistrate Phethise Motanyane at the Maseru Magistrate Court.

Mr Molelekoa, along with another Econet employee, were charged in August 2016 for allegedly defrauding Econet of M1 million worth of airtime.

Attorney Tumisang Mosotho who represented Mr Molelekoa in the case, this week told the Lesotho Times that charges against his client were dropped due to lack of evidence linking him to the fraud.

The case is set to continue in December 2017, with the co-accused left to answer the fraud charges.

Speaking in the wake of his exoneration this week, Mr Molelekoa said he was relieved that he would finally get his life back on track without the damaging fraud allegations hanging over his head.

He said he had always maintained innocence in the face of the charges which had ruined his professional reputation and social standing.

"It was very challenging for me and my family during that whole time as I had no job and no job prospects due to the ongoing fraud case. But now that it is over, I am hoping things will go back to normal in my professional life and I will be able to find a job," Mr Molelekoa told the Lesotho Times.

Mr Molelekoa said although he was happy the ordeal was finally behind him, he was however, concerned with the delays in the justice system which caused him to wait for more than a year before being cleared of the charges.

"It would seem to me the justice system in the country is not so just after this case went for almost a year before I was cleared. And I have suffered emotional torture and also my business reputation took a knock during all that time," Mr Molelekoa said, adding, during that time he was unable to find employment and he had to sell land that he had earmarked for commercial development in order to survive.

He said he had lost out on the opportunities which he was pursuing because of the case.

Mr Molelekoa is currently the Managing Director of Enterprise Risk Management and Governance Services, which he co-founded. It is a consultancy firm operating in Lesotho and Botswana.

The company has engaged in a risk awareness campaign targeting members of the private and public sector to introduce to them the principles of the ISO31000 risk management standard. Over 20 local companies benefited from this exercise.

He said the charge also affected his religious life as he was forced to put on hold the activities he was involved in as a church elder.

He joined Econet in March 2010 and his contract was not renewed in August 2016. He however, expressed gratitude to Econet for funding his studies and the opportunities they gave him.

"The company (Econet) paid for my studies at the University Stellenbosch Business School in 2014 for Management Development Programme and also my Post-Graduate Diploma in Risk Management at University of South Africa (UNISA) in 2016 which made me the first Mosotho to hold that qualification, so they played a crucial role in my professional development," he said.

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