SOUTH African national, Mokena Nhlapo, who has been accused of duping local models of thousands of maloti after promising them modelling contracts and prizes, says the complainants are merely his old girlfriends wanting to settle old scores.
Mr Nhlapo says the money he received from the girls was for a modelling campaign he intended to hold in South Africa together with Lesotho’s Beauty Pageant Association of Lesotho (BPAL) President Tlali Tlali.
He spoke to the Sunday Express in response to a story in its sister publication, Lesotho Times of 13 April 2017 (“SA conman dupes local models”) in which several local models accused him of using various scams to convince them to part with their money.
To some, he allegedly claimed to be a representative of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in South Africa looking for a model who would be the face of the political party’s campaigns.
To others, Mr Nhlapo reportedly claimed to be an agent for cosmetics brand Nivea holding an advertising campaign in Bloemfontein.
Mr Nhlapo was also accused of having promised them a brand new car, R100 000 cash, a laptop and a smart phone if they clinched the contracts.
The models said Mr Nhlapo would even send pictures of the car and showed them its purported registration papers when they met to prove his claims.
After convincing the models, it was also said he would then request money to clear the car with customs at the Maseru Border Post with the amounts ranging from R1 500 to R6 000.
The Fouriesburg (South Africa) resident was further accused of demanding sexual favours from the models he lured to South Africa to ensure they were awarded the contracts.
One of the models even presented a bank proof of deposit he made into the account of one Janfeke S Nhlapo, while another said her mother had given him M6 000.
The models said Mr Nhlapo also used many Facebook accounts with different names to dupe his victims.
Some of his alleged Facebook accounts were Mokena Nhlapo, Thembi Mazibuko, Thandy Molapo, Mafusi Noxolo, Lucky Mbele and Lebohang Mia.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Clifford Molefe confirmed investigations into the matter were ongoing after two girls lodged complaints.
“We do have a case of two girls who complained of a man who conned them of their monies, but I cannot give details because that may jeopardise the case,” he said.
However, in an interview with this paper on Friday, Mr Nhlapo refuted the allegations claiming they were made by his former lovers who were bitter that he had dumped them.
“I never conned anyone of money, all those girls who made allegations on Facebook are my ex-lovers who are trying to tarnish my reputation because I parted ways with them,” Nhlapo said.
“These girls were the ones who contacted me and would visit me in Fouriesburg where we would party and have sexual relations. I believe they were attracted to me by the flashy cars I drive. I am a very prominent politician in the Free State Province, a former member of the Economic Freedom Fighters who is currently under the ruling African National Congress.
“I never committed any crime as I never heard anywhere where fornication is regarded as a crime. I was in Lesotho this past weekend and if I was wanted by the police like they claim, I would have been arrested.”
He said the models were being used by his political rivals to tarnish his reputation. Mr Nhlapo said he also thought the Lesotho Times was also paid to discredit him “until I was given this opportunity to tell my side of the story”.
Mr Nhlapo also said he had to be “talked out of suing” the models for defamation by his lawyer who advised him it would be unwise to sue “former girlfriends”.
He however, did not deny asking for the M6 000 and M1 500 payments, saying this was for a modelling campaign he intended to hold in South Africa together with Mr Tlali.
“I did receive M6 000 from the mother of … (name withheld) but it was not for the EFF campaign as she claimed in the Lesotho Times story. The lady, who was my girlfriend at the time as well as Tlali know very well that we had planned to use it for a modelling campaign we intended to host in South Africa.
“I personally collected the money from the girl‘s mother and gave it to Tlali to keep.
“Tlali and I were best friends then and he would bring me different models to sleep with whenever I was in Lesotho. We had a dispute when I asked him that we return the girl’s money for our plan had failed but he refused.
“In fact, I intend to return it to clear my name as I am the one who collected it and I will find a way to deal with Tlali myself.”
He said it was also true that the lady had deposited M1 500 into his account, adding she was an ex-girlfriend who was only returning a loan he had advanced her.
Mr Nhlapo also surmised the model might have started a “smear campaign” on Facebook out of anger that she had been asked to repay the money when the relationship ended.
“What I noticed is that Lesotho girls are opportunists who thought I would shower them with gifts and money. So they were angered by the fact that I did not fulfil their expectations of spoiling them.
“All I can say is Lesotho girls should grow up mentally and stop being attracted by flashy cars and money,” he said.
For his part, Mr Tlali said Mr Nhlapo should come to Lesotho and clear his name.
“Nhlapo should come to my office or meet me at the local police station so that we settle this thing once and for all. I have made several attempts to find him in Fouriesburg but failed.
“If he has nothing to hide, then I believe it will not be a problem to come here to clear his name,” Mr Tlali said.
Meanwhile, the M6 000 victim denied having an affair with Nhlapo and said she had lost hope of ever recovering the money.
“I am not surprised that he says he will pay the money because he has been saying that since last year.
“It is also not true that I had a love affair with him,” she said, adding she did not know Mr Nhlapo until the day she met him to give him the money.
“I was initially contacted by one Mafusi Noxolo via Facebook about the Nivea campaign who then said she will send her boss to collect the money.
“The person who came to meet me was Mokena Nhlapo who I was seeing for the first time so there is no way I could have dated him.
“They had demanded M3 000 so I gave him M1 500 cash when we met in Ladybrand and then deposited the rest on Friday. He is talking of that amount only because that’s the only amount I have proof of paying.
“However, I have a WhatsApp conversation where he was promising to return my money which I can present as proof that never lent me money.
“He is only coming up with stories because I exposed him so he is trying to discredit my story. We have even reported the matter to the police,” she said.
Read follow-up story here: SA conman dupes local models