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Maseru

Stanlib clients lose M7 million to fraud

Business

Mohloai Mpesi

Lepekola Phias Nxongo, a contracted agent at Stanlib Lesotho, has been charged with fraud for deceiving the company’s investors and misappropriating their investments totaling over M7 million.

The charges come after an investigation revealed that Nxongo, acting as a broker agent, defrauded investors, including organizations such as S.t Leonard Health Centre, S.t Mary’s Pre School, Lesotho Bishop’s Conference (LCBC) Health Department, and individual investors like ‘Mamosieleng Theoane, among others.

Stanlib Lesotho is an asset manager registered as a collective investment scheme manager with the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL).

Nxongo’s role as a broker agent was to solicit and procure investors for the company’s collective investment scheme.

MODUS OPERANDI

According to the charge sheet, Nxongo, during his tenure as a broker agent, executed a series of fraudulent acts by making false representations to Stanlib Lesotho and manipulating investors’ funds.

On 94 occasions, he claimed withdrawals from investors’ investments and provided doctored banking details into which the funds should be deposited.

The bank accounts used for these transactions included F and L Holdings Pty Ltd with an account number at the Lesotho Post Bank (LPB), and an account number at FNB Lesotho.

Additionally, he used his own accounts, namely one held with FNB Lesotho and another with LPB.

Another bank account used by Nxongo in his scheme belonged to the popular Eclipse Public Bar in Mafeteng.

“All the claims and withdrawals by the accused from the above investors investments paid up into the above listed accounts held with different banks sum up to seven million one hundred and eight thousand, seven hundred and sixty-eight maloti (M7,108,768.99),” reads the charge sheet.

CHARGES AND ACCUSATIONS

The charges against Nxongo include contravening section 68 (1) read with 109 of Penal Code Act No. 6 of 2010 (fraud).

Nxongo is accused of unlawfully and intentionally making false representations to Stanlib Lesotho over the years.

In various instances, he allegedly claimed withdrawals from investors’ accounts, directing the funds to different accounts under his control.

For example, Nxongo allegedly claimed on behalf of ‘Mamosieleng Theoane that she made a withdrawal of M1,350,000 from her investment account, directing the funds to F and L Holdings’ account at the Lesotho Post Bank.

Similar false representations were made on behalf of Caritas Lesotho, S.t Leonard Health Centre, Mangaka Hilda Nkheli, and S.t Mary’s Pre School, leading to significant sums of money being diverted.

The charge sheet reads in part: “In that upon or about the period beginning July 13, 2022, to November 7, 2022, and at or near Stanlib head offices in the district of Maseru, the said accused did unlawfully, intentionally and deliberately make false representation to Stanlib to wit that S.t Mary’s Pre School is making withdrawal from its investment account an amount of three hundred thousand maloti (M3, 000 000) and that such withdrawal be paid up into another account number; S.t Leonard Health Centre, account number 700562168 held at Stanlib Lesotho.

“…and another One hundred and fifty thousand maloti (M150 000) be paid up into Eclipse Bar and Carwash account 103095330012 held at Lesotho Post Bank.”

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