Billy ouster puts ABC in cash fix

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MASERU — The main opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) party is facing a serious cash crunch.

The party has been unable to withdraw funds from its account held at First National Bank (FNB) over the past couple of months.

The party’s former secretary-general, Macaefa Billy, and party leader Thomas Thabane were the only signatories following the death of party treasurer Motlatsi Matekane in April.

But after the ABC fired Billy in August the party has not been able to withdraw funds from the account.

The party’s constitution stipulates that there should be at least two signatories before the party can withdraw funds from the account.

When Thabane and Billy quarrelled over power in June the party’s secretary-general stopped taking part in the party’s activities.

Thabane then found himself the party’s sole signatory creating a cash crunch for the beleaguered opposition party.

The ABC leader could also not hand-pick anyone from the party to countersign.

Thabane confirmed that the party’s attempts to withdraw funds without Billy’s signature had hit a brick-wall.

“Of course FNB has a right to reject any withdrawal done without signatures submitted to it,” Thabane said.

“We have not been able to access funds but that does not mean we need Billy to come and sign for us.”

Thabane said the party had since appointed a new treasurer, Sam Rapapa, and an acting secretary-general, Thabo Thakalekoala.

Thabane said the FNB clerk who refused to allow them to withdraw their money was “just an inexperienced small boy”.

“That money belongs to us and we are not expecting anybody to come from anywhere to tell us who should and who should not have access to our money,” he said.

Thabane said with the appointment of a new treasurer “things are now expected to run smoothly between the ABC and the bank”.

He said Rapapa is now a counter-signatory to the ABC’s cheques.

Contacted for comment, Billy said the ABC still did not have access to the party’s funds.

“I have not been removed from my position as the ABC secretary-general and to the best of my recollection the lawful signatories are Mr Thabane and I,” Billy said.

“I am of the opinion that the letter of suspension Mr Thabane wrote sprang from the fact that he had no access to the party funds,” he said.

“The letter was copied to the banks because he was interested in showing the banks that I no longer had signing powers.”

Billy said Thabane had not copied the letter to other party structures because his focus was on informing the bank that he had been suspended.

Thabane however said he had communicated with all party structures about Billy’s suspension.

Efforts to get comment from FNB were not successful.

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