‘Reformed’ Mohaleroe pleads with High Court

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MASERU — For how long can a man’s criminal record continue to preclude him from the opportunities of life?
That is the question businessman Makhoabe Mohaleroe wanted the High Court to answer in his latest application in a case in which he is fighting to remain a director of Lesotho Public Motor Transport Company (LPMTC).
The fight over the control of LPMTC, a company formed by Lesotho Bus and Taxi Owners Association (LBTOA) in 1979, has been a bruising one.
Mohaleroe and his son Pule Mohaleroe have been fighting with former politician Moeketsi Tsatsanyane and his group for the ownership of LPMTC, a company that owns a property in Maseru.
Mohaleroe claims that he and his son are now the sole owners of the company after he allegedly bought the shares from one LBTOA director.
He now holds the company directorship with his son.
But Tsatsanyane and his group say LBTOA and not Mohaleroe are the rightful owners of the company.
In November 2008 Tsatsanyane was appointed chairman of the LMPTC by LBTOA members but when he went to the Registrar of Companies, together with his new board to effect the change of directorship he hit a brick wall.
He was told Mohaleroe and Pule were already directors. That put Tsatsanyane on a warpath with the Mohaleroes.
After defeat in their court battles to wrestle control from Mohaleroe, Tsatsanyane and his group changed tact.
They dug into Mohaleroe’s history and found dirt. Mohaleroe, their main stumbling block to the control of LMPTC, was a convict who had done time for fraud.
Mohaleroe was imprisoned in the Maseru Central Prison from October 19, 1988 to December 16, 1989.
That discovery armed Tsatsanyane with ammunition for the next court battle.
They then filed a court application seeking an order to compel the registrar of companies to register their board and exclude Mohaleroe.
And when Mohaleroe filed a counter application seeking to be enjoined to the case as an interested party, Tsatsanyane’s group came up with a trump card: the conviction.
That created yet another battle as to whether Mohaleroe was indeed a convict.
There was one missing link though.
The prisons authorities had to testify that he was indeed an inmate at one time.
But when the Lesotho Correctional Services failed to make it to court last week, Mahaleroe launched a counter strategy.
He decided to come out clean and pleaded with the court to consider him “reformed” enough to qualify to be a director of a company. 
In his affidavit Mohaleroe said since his conviction in 1988 he conducted himself “100 percent in terms of the law which shows very undoubtedly that I have been living within the parameters of the law for I have reformed.”
“I aver that there is no longer a likelihood that mishaps with the law may recur much as they have not since the 1980s,” said Mohaleroe in the affidavit.
“A lot of years have passed since my conviction and the time of this application which shows that there is weighty evidence that I have fully reformed.”
Mohaleroe told the court how he was jailed after he was found guilty of fraud.
“I had the cheques deposited into my wife’s bank account under the circumstances, which in the final analysis I ought to have foreseen that the cheques were stolen.
“Thus I was found guilty as charged on the premise that I benefitted out of the proceeds of that money.”
The order was granted without opposition and he walked out of court a clean man who had the right to hold directorship of the company.
But that only gave Tsatsanyane’s group more ammunition but this time they did not use it in court.
They wrote to tenants at the LPMTC’s property instructing them to pay monthly rentals to their office instead of to Mohaleroe as had been happening.
 “All tenants of Lesotho Public Motor Transport Company building on Plot No. 13283-011 are hereby cautioned and directed to pay all their rentals at the offices of the company on the premises of the company on receiving this letter,” reads the letter dated March 2.
“We herein attach a declaration by the fraudster Makhoabe Mohaleroe to where he declares that all the time he has been claiming the directorship of Lesotho Public Motor Transport Company, he did so while disqualified by law.”
“He has never been and will never be a director of Lesotho Public Motor Transport Company.”

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