Re-arrested fraud suspect in court

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MASERU — A 53-year-old man has appeared in the High Court to face charges of defrauding the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) of M2.8 million.

Steven Dlamini was arrested in 2004 for alleged fraud.

He was however released from custody in 2006 after two magistrates allegedly tampered with court records to show that charges against him had been withdrawn.

Dlamini was re-arrested in Maseru in 2008 by members of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO).

He has since been kept in prison pending trial.

He had applied for bail but the magistrate’s court and the High Court rejected his appeals for bail.

The Court of Appeal in October also refused to grant him bail.

He is also facing a charge of defeating the ends of justice for influencing the magistrates to tamper with the court records.

On Tuesday, Dlamini’s case resumed at the High Court.

LHDA’s senior accountant ‘Mamookho Mathibeli told the court that Dlamini’s lover had been involved in facilitating fraudulent bank transactions.

Mathibeli said a former LHDA accountant Peggy Thakeli gave ABSA bank an instruction to transfer M2.4 million from the LHDA account into the First National Bank account belonging to one Soleman Sameer.

But Mathibeli said the LHDA did not have any contract with Sameer.

Thakeli was sentenced to eight years in jail for fraud in April.

Thakeli had told the court during the trial that Dlamini had manipulated her to defraud the LHDA.

She said she was easily manipulated because Dlamini was her lover.

The case is still continuing.

The two magistrates who facilitated the release of Dlamini from prison, ‘Mampai Lesupi and Itumeleng Letsika, are facing separate charges of defeating the ends of justice.

The prosecution says the magistrates had written on the charge sheet that the fraud charges against Dlamini had been withdrawn when they knew that this was not the case.

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