Court rejects ex-MKM boss’ plea

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MASERU — Acting High Court Judge John Musi yesterday shot down a bid by a former manager of MKM to be enjoined in an application in which the Central Bank of Lesotho is seeking to liquidate the troubled company.

Tseliso Manyeli, who was once MKM’s corporate secretary, had together with nine others, who were not named in court, brought an urgent court application seeking to be enjoined in the case.

Manyeli’s case was that he and his colleagues should be joined in the liquidation proceedings in accordance with the court order they obtained in the MKM’s case in 2008.

His basis was that the court order gave him and his colleagues a right to be joined in all proceedings that involve the report made by PricewaterhouseCoopers against MKM.

But Justice Musi, who was hired from South Africa to specifically deal with the MKM case, dismissed the application.

“The application for joinder is dismissed and I make no order as to costs. Reasons will follow,” Justice Musi ordered.

The application was dismissed after the central bank’s lawyer Advocate Chris Edeling had submitted that Manyeli and his colleagues’ application lacked urgency.

Edeling also said Manyeli and his colleagues did not have a case because they failed to show in the court papers the nature of their interest in the case.

“The applicants do not say what their interest is. I submit that there is simply no case made up for joinder,” Edeling said.

The central bank wants MKM liquidated.

The central bank argues that the company is insolvent and cannot be nursed back to life.

Liquidation, the bank argues, is the only way that depositors can salvage something left of their investments which sank with the company.

But the company is arguing that liquidation is not justified because it can still pay its depositors.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, an audit firm, found that the company was M300 million in the red.

Only M100 million of the M400 million invested by more than 300 000 people could be accounted for.

MKM is arguing that PricewaterhouseCoopers’ figures are not correct.

It insists that it owes the depositors only M165 million. 

The Court of Appeal has already ruled that MKM was operating illegal banking and insurance businesses, and therefore deserved to be shut down.

The case continues today.

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