24 August 2018

Lesotho: Mojakhomo Remanded in Thabane Fraud Case

THABANG Mojakhomo, who stands accused of defrauding First Lady 'Maesaiah Thabane's Trust Fund of M65 000, was on Monday remanded to 17 September this year by Magistrate Monyake Hlabanyane.

Mr Hlabanyane remanded Mr Mojakhomo to the said date to enable police to complete their investigations in the alleged fraud case.

The 32-year-old Mr Mojakhomo is accused of conniving with his wife, 'Makarabo, who was arrested on 29 May this year. However, 'Makarabo has not had her day in court after she allegedly disappeared from police custody while the police were preparing to take her to court.

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

And on Monday the magistrate Mr Hlabanyane remanded him to the 17th of September.

"Your case is still under investigation so you must report back on the 17th of next month," Mr Hlabanyane told Mr Mojakhomo.

The case of the Mojakhomos has attracted widespread attention in the aftermath of the alleged disappearance of 'Makarabo.

Police Spokesperson, Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli, told the Lesotho Times that they were looking for Makarabo Mojakhomo from Lecoop, Khubetsoana in Maseru "who escaped from police custody on 31 May 2018 at a time when we were preparing to take her to court for her hearing".

But Ms Mojakhomo's family came out guns blazing insisting there was no way that she could have broken out of tightly guarded police cells. The family subsequently petitioned the High Court for an order for the police to produce her dead or alive.

The family cited social media reports that she could have been murdered by the police as one of the reasons for its bid to have her produced before the court.

On 3 July 2018, the Mojakhomo family's lawyer, Advocate Letuka Molati, even asked High Court judge Justice Semapo Peete to order Ms Thabane and the Police minister, 'Mampho Mokhele a to testify before the court as their testimony "would assist the court to reach a conclusion as to whether or not 'Makarabo escaped from police custody or was made to disappear by the police".

However, in a turn of events three weeks ago, Adv Molati wrote to the Police Commissioner, Holomo Molibeli, informing him that Ms Mojakhomo was alive and well. Adv Molati stated that contrary to the police allegations, Ms Mojakhomo did not escape but "she was abducted with the direct help of the police from the police custody".

"'Makarabo Mojakhomo has instructed us, as we hereby do state that she did not escape from police custody but that she was abducted with the direct help of the police from the police custody," Adv Molati wrote in the letter that is dated 30 July 2018. The letter is also copied to Ms Mokhele, the Registrar of the High Court and the Attorney General Haae Phoofolo.

Adv Molati also states in the letter that Ms Mojakhomo had instructed him to inform Commissioner Molibeli that she (Ms Mojakhomo) would only return to Lesotho "when the time is right" to answer to criminal charges.

Adv Molati further states that even he does not know the exact whereabouts of Ms Mojakhomo, adding that the concealing of her exact location was meant to ensure her safety because her because her version of the events of 31 May 2018 - the day she disappeared from police custody- would incriminate "very high-ranking people".

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