MASERU — A magistrate’s court has ruled that Maseru lawyer Haae Phoofolo was free to proceed with his claim for payment from retired politician Chaltin Tsatsanyane for legal services rendered in 2007.
Tsatsanyane had filed a special plea before magistrate ’Mampho Mokoena arguing Phoofolo was wrongly demanding M9 115 in legal fees from him when he represented his son three years ago.
Phoofolo represented Tsatsanyane’s son, Mokherane, in a case related to the 2007 post-election upheavals.
Mokherane, who was an active member of the main opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, was among a group of activists accused of attacking government ministers’ houses in June 2007.
Mokherane and several other opposition activists were then charged with treason but escaped into exile in South Africa.
The government of Lesotho applied for the extradition of the exiles in South African courts.
Phoofolo was then engaged to represent the ABC activists in court and later demanded payment from individual activists.
Tsatsanyane refused to pay the legal fees arguing Phoofolo had rendered the legal services to his son and not to him.
He also argued that Phoofolo, a member of the ABC, was at the time “acting as a volunteer lawyer” for the party and was representing all the exiles.
He also says when he approached Phoofolo to represent his son he was doing so as an agent acting on behalf of his son. Tsatsanyane argued that Phoofolo cannot therefore make a claim against him as an agent.
Phoofolo argued that it was Tsatsanyane and not his son who struck a deal with him. He wants Tsatsanyane to pay him for the legal services he rendered to his son.
The lawyer also denied entering into any arrangement with the ABC to represent its exiled activists.
But Tsatsanyane wanted the court to jointly sue his son since he was the one who was represented by Phoofolo.
The court dismissed Tsatsanyane’s plea on Friday paving the way for Phoofolo to proceed with his demand for payment.
Phoofolo argued that it was improper to jointly sue Mokherane in a case where only Tsatsanyane was involved.
Tsatsanyane had asked the court to either dismiss Phoofolo’s demand for payment from Tsatsanyane or order that his son Mokherane be jointly sued.
Phoofolo, in response, said he had no reason to sue Mokherane because there was no evidence that he had entered into an agreement with Mokherane but with Tsatsanyane.
The court dismissed Tsatsanyane’s plea with costs.
The date for the hearing of the case in which Phoofolo is claiming M9 115 from Tsatsanyane is yet to be set.
Phoofolo represented himself while Koili Ndebele appeared for Tsatsanyane during the hearing.