MASERU — The battle for the control of People’s Choice FM (PC FM) reached new heights this week with revelations that the executive chairman, Mohau Thakaso, has now requested the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) to suspend the radio station’s licence.
Thakaso alleges in his letter to the LCA that the licence’s condition had been flouted by the management.
He said the management was now misusing the licence. Thakaso said the LCA must suspend the licence until he has regained control of the station which he said had been stolen from him.
In a letter in possession of the Lesotho Times, Mohau Thakaso asked the LCA chief executive, Monohela Posholi, to suspend PC FM’s operating licence claiming that it is being “unlawfully and fraudulently used by certain individuals who are not authorised.”
Posholi could not be reached for comment yesterday as he was said to be in a meeting.
However, an official from the LCA confirmed that the authority had received a letter from Thakaso dated June 12 2009.
In the letter, Thakaso said he applied for the licence together with other shareholders in 1998. The licence was renewed on June 1, 2002 and it will expire on May 5, 2012.
“I wish to report to your office that this licence is presently being unlawfully and fraudulently used by certain individuals who are not authorised and neither they directors or shareholders in the company,” reads the letter.
He said the “individuals purported to buy and sell shares of the company using the funds of the same company which amounts to fraud and is illegal”.
“They have however occupied the offices and are misusing company property to the prejudice of the actual shareholders and directors.” Thakaso accuses the damaging director, Motlatsi Majara and the station manager, Kholu Qhobela of fraudulently allowing or using the company’s money to buy its own shares for individuals.
He said those shares had been fraudulently acquired. He has also accused Majara of operating a company bank account without the approval of the board of directors. He also accuses Majara of making illegal transactions using that particular account.
Qhobela is accused of fraudulently registering some of the company’s shares under her name.
The company had bought back the shares from Majara under a share-buy-back arrangement but instead of putting the shares in the company’s name Qhobela is allaged to have registered them under her name, the report said.
The report further alleges that when asked at a board meeting why she had registered the shares in her name Qhobela allegedly said she was a “custodian”.
In the letter, Thakaso said the LCA conditions of licensing include ensuring “that the proper licensee wholly operates the licence. In this case that is not so.”
He also said the shareholding or alteration in the company structure, which he challenges as unlawful, had not been reported to the LCA.
He goes further to push for the drastic measure of cancelling the licence so that he can regain control of the station.
“My request is for your office to ensure that the culprits are disciplined and the licence suspended until I regain it.”
Meanwhile, police’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) boss, Assistant Commissioner John Selete has responded to Majara’s plea for intervention after a policeman raided PC FM’s offices in search of documents for the investigation into the fraud case against the management.
Majara had asked Selete to urgently intervene after the detective raided his office to confiscate documents.
In his letter of appeal Majara had told Selete that the detective’s actions were tantamount to “harassment of PC FM management”.
In response, Selete said the detective had the mandate to investigate fraud at the station.
“The contents of your letter are acknowledged. The said Mr Mokiti (detective) is mandated to investigate the possible fraud case of People’s Choice radio, this entails to present any documentary evidence before the court,” reads part of Selete’s letter which this paper has seen.
“As regards the alleged intimidation and harassment, rest assured of our readiness to protect you at all times as long as this could not be used as a mechanism to avoid civil remedies.”
The raid was part of police investigations after Thakaso reported the radio station’s management for alleged fraud, corruption and perjury.
Approached for comment, Majara said he was not aware of the letter Thakaso wrote to the LCA chief executive.
He however said he was not interested in matters relating to Thakaso’s claims.
“I do not have any interest in matters relating to the claims of Mr Thakaso, especially as written by you and your newspaper because I have realised that you two have developed friendship that make you biased against us,” Majara said.
Majara accused the Lesotho Times of writing “untruths and lies” about the shareholding structure of PC FM.
“You cannot deny that what you are writing is a lie,” he said.
“You have no proof that Thakaso has majority shareholding but you persisted to write it. It is the position you gave him in this company,” he said.
“No document can prove that. Your paper publishes lies.”
Majara said the paper had “access to private correspondence of our office but cannot obtain public information about who are the shareholders of PC FM.”