Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Maseru

M2 million embezzlement scandal

Business

Relebohile Makhetha

Teboho Maxwell Makoanyane, 43, of Mazenod Ha Luka, appeared before the Maseru Magistrate Court where he faced charges of corruption and theft.

Allegations swirling around Makoanyane suggest that he has been running his own rendition of “Money Heist”, also known as “La Casa de Papel” with a twist – instead of robbing a Royal Mint, he has allegedly embezzled over M2 million from the Iketsetseng Community English Medium School.

Makoanyane, employed as a driver at the Ministry of Health, also holds the position of chairperson of the board at Iketsetseng.

The prosecution claims that Makoanyane, in his capacity as chairperson, unlawfully diverted funds belonging to the school for personal use, misusing the school’s ATM card entrusted to his possession.

“The accused is charged with contravening section 21(3)(a) read with section 34 of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act No.5 of 199 as amended by Act No.8 of 2006,” reads the charge sheet.

It is alleged that Makoanyane embezzled, misappropriated, or diverted school funds amounting to M2,235,063.03 for his benefit and that of others, using the school’s ATM card.

“The accused did thereby commit the offence of corruption (embezzlement and/or misappropriation of funds,” reads the charge sheet.

Alternatively, he is charged with contravening section 21(3)(b) read with section 34 of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act No.5 of 1999 as amended by Act No.8 of 2006.

The prosecution asserts that Makoanyane abused his office’s functions or position for undue advantage by using the school’s ATM card for unauthorized purposes, thereby committing the offence of corruption (abuse of office).

Additionally, Makoanyane faces a charge of contravening section 58(1) read with section 109 of the Penal Code Act No.6 of 2010.

It is alleged that he unlawfully used money belonging to Iketsetseng Community English Medium School for his personal use, amounting to M2,235,063.03.

The charge sheet states: “The accused did thereby commit the offence of theft.”

An advocate representing Makoanyane pleaded for bail of M2,000, with a surety of property in the form of a lease not exceeding M30,000.

The lawyer highlighted Makoanyane’s cooperation with the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) and his familial responsibilities.

“The accused is a citizen of Lesotho, employed by the government, and serves as the headman of Ha Luke Mazenod Maseru,” he stated.

Despite the defence’s plea, the court granted bail with a deposit of M6,000.00, under the condition that Makoanyane does not interfere with witnesses, attends his trial, and finds an independent surety of M30,000.

He is required to report to court on February 22, 2024.

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