HIGH Court judge, Justice Teboho Moiloa on Monday sentenced prominent businessman Adil Osman and his son Mohammed Osman to 15 years in jail or alternatively a fine of M2 million each for defrauding Wesbank of M12.8 million in 2007.
The duo were ordered to pay their fine in instalments and the first instalment of M150 000 is due on or before 26 May, 2017.
Thereafter, they were ordered to make monthly payments of M22 500.
Justice Moiloa sentenced the duo after the prosecution and the defence lawyers struck a plea bargain, which entailed tendering a plea of guilty for the accused in return for receiving a lenient sentence.
Imposing the sentences, Justice Moiloa said: “The court endorses the plea bargain”, adding, “Accused one (Adil) should pay a fine of M2 million or 15 years imprisonment”.
“M150 000 of the fine should be paid by the 26th May 2017 and he should pay M22 000 per month until the full amount has been settled.
“The payments should be made at the accounts section of the High Court through its bank account held by the Central Bank of Lesotho.
“In addition the accused is sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
“The whole sentence is suspended for five years on condition that the accused does not commit a similar offence of fraud or theft.”
The judge uttered similar words to Mohammed.
Justice Moiloa said it was his duty to say if the proposed sentences were acceptable or not, adding “I officially announce that the sentences are fair and reasonable in light of the circumstances in which the offences were committed”.
“You curtailed the lengthy court proceedings to investigate whether you are guilty or not. To me it shows great remorse.”
Justice Moiloa cautioned them not to miss their payments, saying, “If you do it I will just shut up my eyes and send you straight to jail”.
The duo were facing 25 counts of fraud and theft.
They owned a car dealership trading as MYO Motor Garage Truck and Bus in Ladybrand, South Africa at the time when the offences were committed in 2007.
They were accused of conspiring with former Wesbank manager Kagiso Selebano in 2007 to mislead the bank into believing that customers who applied for loans to buy vehicles would be able to repay their debts when they knew they could not.
They manipulated the Wesbank’s verification and risk assessment procedures by using false bank records, proof of insurance documents and financial statements.
According to the charge, after helping a customer to buy a vehicle, they would be paid by the bank as car dealers and they would pay the former Wesbank manager his share.
Wesbank is a division of First National Bank.