23 April 2018

Lesotho: Death Threats As Mkm Furore Escalates

A prominent lawyer, Advocate Qhalehang Letsika, one of the provisional liquidators of the embattled MKM Star Lion Group estate has accused the company's director, Simon Thebe-ea-Khale, and three creditors of threatening to kill representatives of two local companies that bought MKM buildings at an auction in February 2017.

The allegations are contained in an urgent court application that Adv Letsika lodged yesterday in the High Court seeking to interdict Mr Thebe-ea-Khale and three creditors, Sekhonyana Mosenene, Thabang Mafojane and Teboho Shasha from entering and occupying the MKM properties which have already been disposed.

Apparently Mr Thebe-ea-Khale and the three creditors appear so incensed by the manner in which MKM is being liquidated. They seem to have wanted to repossess the MKM buildings despite that they were sold at a public auction. They also raise various allegations against the provisional liquidators.

The matter will now be heard on 21 May this year after the litigants agreed on that date in the court. The respondents are also expected to have filed their replying affidavits by the 27th of this month.

Mr Thebe-ea-Khale also undertook not to interfere with the liquidation of the MKM properties.

In his court papers, Adv Letsika stated that, "Based on what I have heard from the representatives of Sekhametsi Investment Consortium Limited and Lephema Executive Transport Limited, there have already been death threats made by some of those that invaded Insurance House and also chased away the security guards of Maseru FNB Building".

"Fortunately, the police were able to intervene on time and prevent bloodshed," Adv Letsika said.

The Sekhametsi and Lephema companies bought two of MKM properties - Maseru FNB Buildings and Maseru House Insurance respectively on February 2017. The sale was conducted as part of efforts by the provisional liquidators to dispose of MKM's properties in an attempt to recover more than M400 million that the company owes to its creditors.

According to court papers, Sekhametsi paid M44 million for the Maseru FNB Building while Lephema acquired the Maseru House Insurance building for M33 million.

The sales of the two buildings irked the creditors who accused the provisional liquidators of secretly selling the properties in an attempt to avoid paying them. Messrs Mosenene, Mafojane and Shasha are among some of the local taxi operators who invested more than M2 million in the MKM Ponzi scheme that was shut down in 2007 by the Central Bank of Lesotho.

Adv Letsika has since filed application papers in which he wants the High Court to interdict Messrs Thebe-ea-Khale, Mosenene, Mafojane and Shasha from entering and occupying the two MKM buildings.

The MKM creditors led by Messrs Mosenene, Mafojane and Shasha temporarily took over the guard duties of the two buildings early this month to protest their sale.

Messrs Thebe-ea-Khale, Mosenene, Mafojane and Shasha are co-joined with the Commissioner of Police, the Officer Commanding Maseru Central Charge Office, the Master of the High Court, Land Administration Authority and Attorney General as the fifth to ninth respondents in the matter.

The creditors argue that the liquidators have failed to use the proceeds from the sales to pay them what they are owed by MKM.

The temporary occupation of the buildings and the creditors' claims forced the liquidators into instituting an urgent court application against the four men on 3 April this year.

"It is declared that the property listed as item 1, Maseru FNB Building, in the MKM Star Lion Group Estate properties schedule is the property of Sekhametsi Investment Consortium Limited who is to be recognised as the lawful owner thereof.

"The property listed as item 2, Maseru Insurance House, in the MKM Star Lion Group Estate properties schedule is the property of Lephema Executive Transport Limited, who is to be recognised as the lawful owner thereof," part of the court application states.

Mr Letsika petitioned the court to call upon the respondents to 'show cause' why an order should not be made to interdict them from occupying the two properties.

He further petitioned the court to interdict the respondents from "assaulting, threatening to assault, intimidating and instigating others to assault, threaten or intimidate any of the staff, tenants, customers, workmen, contractors and/or representatives in possession of any of the properties as listed in the company's estate".

"The fifth to sixth respondents should be authorised and directed to ensure that the members of the police office take all reasonable steps to prevent any damage to persons or property at or near any of the properties and to physically eject any persons in occupation of any of those properties at the written request of the lawful owners thereof," Adv Letsika said.

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