MASERU — A local businessman is suing the Berea district council after it failed to pay him for a pedestrian roller which he had hired out to the council three years ago.
Likano Tšiu wants the High Court to order the council to pay him M49 250 for the roller which he hired out to the council between May 2007 and January 2008.
Tšiu took the witness stand in the High Court on Tuesday.
The roller machine was used for the construction of a gravel road in villages in Berea during this period.
But the council refuses to take any blame insisting at no time did it enter into a contract with Tšiu.
The district council argues that the contract was between Tšiu and Ramakeoane community council.
Ramakeoane community council is a subordinate council responsible to the Berea district council.
Tšiu told High Court judge Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi that he lodged the case in court after the district council refused to pay him.
He said the claim is based on the period that his machine spent at the district council after the contract period expired.
“The contract expired on the 14th January 2008.
“I wrote a letter to them informing them that if they did not return my machine by the 14th January 2008 I would start invoicing them. They only returned my roller on the 5th March 2008,” he said.
Tšiu said he brought to the attention of the district council that he had secured a contract elsewhere for his machine.
“I told them that I would start invoicing them if they continued using my roller after the expiry of the contract because I had already obtained work somewhere for the machine.
“I could not throw away the bread that was already in my hands and in the circumstances I was left with no option except to claim money for the period that my machine spent in their possession after the contract expired,” he said.
But the Berea district council lawyer Advocate Mojalefa Phimane told the court that Tšiu’s claim was only meant to siphon money from the council.
The case proceeds at a time when local government councils ended their term last Saturday after it was extended last year.
The dissolution of local government councils means that there would be no local authorities until local government elections are held in September.
Local government councillors were elected in 2005 for a five-year term that ended last year.
But the term was extended to April 30 to enable Parliament to amend the local government elections law.
The case continues.