MASERU — The fight for the control of People’s Choice (PC) FM has intensified with revelations this week that station boss Motlatsi Majara has asked for protection from the police.
Majara has asked the head of police’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), Assistant Commissioner John Selete, to urgently intervene after a detective raided his office last Wednesday to confiscate crucial documents.
Majara in a letter to the CID boss said the detective’s actions were tantamount to “harassment of PC FM management”.
The Lesotho Times is in possession of the letter.
The raid was part of police investigations after PC FM executive chairman, Mohau Thakaso, reported the radio station’s management for alleged fraud, corruption and perjury.
According to the report, Majara and station manager Kholu Qhobela are alleged to have fraudulently caused the company to pay huge money buying its own shares for individuals, a practice prohibited by the Companies Act.
They allegedly approved the release of the money to some employees to buy shares in the radio station.
They are alleged to have made false statements under oath.
A CID officer dealing with the matter went to PC FM last Wednesday afternoon and confiscated confidential documents which he said he wanted to use in the investigations.
In the letter to Selete, Majara alleged that the policeman was with Thakaso when he took the documents from the radio station.
“They both harassed our management (Mrs Kholu Qhobela and our accountant Mrs ’Mamalang Molatseli) and forced them under intense intimidation to give out, which they did, confidential company documents,” said Majara in the letter dated May 6.
“We are appalled and shocked by this action of your policeman which had the potential for retaliation or action outside the law.
“We reiterate our position of the 31st March 2006 that Mr Thakaso has avenues within our company structures to resolve any dispute arising within the company,” Majara said.
According to the letter, Majara was not in the office when the raid took place.
Police spokesperson, Senior Inspector Pheello Mphana, told this paper that he was not aware of the correspondence between Majara and Selete.
He said he was not aware of any action being instituted against the policeman.
“I am not aware of all these things,” Mphana said.
“I do not know of a policeman being questioned for harassing PC FM staff,” Mphana said.
The raid at PC FM came barely a week after Thakaso met prosecutors at the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) over fraud and perjury charges against Majara and Qhobela.
Thakaso told the Lesotho Times in an interview that the raid was necessary because the documents were needed for investigations.
He said the prosecutors needed the documents to proceed with the matter.
“Those were the documents that the DPP wanted for the case. There was nothing sinister about that raid,” Thakaso said.
Thakaso said he and another director, Teboho Mothae, had written a letter instructing Molatseli, the PC FM accountant, to release the documents to the police.
“We did not write to Qhobela because she has been officially suspended from the station,” Thakaso said.
“We could not write to Majara because he is the man we are investigating,” he said.
This paper saw a handwritten letter to Molatseli, co-signed by Thakaso and Teboho Mothae.
In an earlier letter written to the police department of fraud, Majara said he and his colleagues were called twice for questioning in relation to the fraud allegations.
He said the board of directors instructed him to desist from divulging any private company information to the police.
The letter, also in the hands of this paper, cites the Lesotho High Court order CIV/APN/199/05 as the reason for declining to give any information to the police.
“The board of directors and shareholders of People’s Choice Broadcasting Studios (Pty) Ltd also resolved that Mr M Thakaso is acting contrary to the interests of the company and opens it to disrepute, and harassment of its senior members,” reads the letter.
The court order was a default judgment which dismissed Thakaso’s demands that he be paid monies he claimed the company owed him.
Thakaso said the order had been unfair to him because he was not given a chance to state his case.
“I would like this order to be rescinded but I have not had enough money to pay lawyers,” he said.
Thakaso is adamant that PC FM owes him and that he is the majority shareholder.
The allegations of perjury arise from the fact that the two managers denied under oath that the company owed Thakaso but later in an interview with Mopheme newspaper Majara admitted that the radio station should pay Thakaso because he bought a transmitter when it was established.
When contacted for comment, Qhobela said the police claimed to have been sent by the DPP to collect the documents.
“We respected the police and the office of the DPP hence we did not resist when they wanted to take the documents,” Qhobela said.
“We released the documents out of respect for the police and the DPP not because of the presence of Thakaso,” she said.
Qhobela said if it was Thakaso who wanted the documents she could have refused to release them. She said Thakaso and the policeman who raided her office were “very intimidating”.