Man sues LHDA over compensation

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MASERU — A Mohale man is suing the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) for failing to pay his full claim for land that he lost in the building of Mohale Dam about 10 years ago.

Lejang Leteba approached the High Court after he received M256 000 from the LHDA as a lump sum in 2005 for his fields that were affected by the construction of Mohale Dam and the feeder roads surrounding it.

In the court papers, Leteba claims that the LHDA had promised to pay him M380 000 as a lump sum for his fields.

But on Tuesday the LHDA’s compensation officer, Thabo Mohai, told the court that Leteba’s claim was baseless.

“I received his (Leteba’s) requisition letter in which he demanded a lump sum payment for his fields that were acquired by the LHDA,” Mohai told the court.

“In his requisition he had also submitted his business plan in which he stated that he wanted to engage in a taxi transport business.

“I learnt later that he had claimed M380 000 but he did not get it because the audit report recommended M256 000 for his five fields,” Mohai said.

Mohai said an audit which was carried out by the LHDA accounts department had revealed that Leteba was only entitled to M256 000 as compensation.

Mohai said the M380 000 claim seemed to have been calculated on the basis of seven fields that were affected by the water project yet only five fields qualified for a lump sum payment.

“The other two fields of the seven fields were not liable for a lump sum payment because they were only acquired by LHDA on temporary basis,” Mohai said.

But Leteba’s lawyer Advocate Ranale Thoahlane said Leteba had legitimate expectation that he would get M380 000 because of the promise made to him by the LHDA.

The case is expected to proceed next Monday before Justice ‘Maseshophe Hlajoane.

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