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LAA officers join Manyokole in the dock for fraud

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Mohalenyane Phakela

A MASERU City Council (MCC) employee and three Land Administration Authority (LAA) officers have joined former local government Principal Secretary Lefu Manyokole in the dock for fraud.

They all stand accused of having fraudulently aided Mr Manyokole in  acquiring a plot of land belonging to his wife’s family.

Nt?ebo Putsoa, Thakane Tau, and Lebakeng Matlatse from the LAA and  Nthati Mabakuena Matobo of the MCC were each granted M1000 bail when  they appeared before Maseru Magistrate Makopano Rant?o this week.

Also in the dock were Matlaleha Thahlane and Phokoane Pitikoe. Their role in the alleged fraudulent acquisition of the plot in Qoaling, Maseru, nor the organisations they represent were not immediately outlined.

Mr Manyokole was the first to be charged on 18 January 2023 before Maseru Magistrate Nthabiseng Moopisa who released him on M1000 bail.

The illegal acquisition of the plot by Mr Manyokole is said to have happened  between 2016 and 2018.

Magistrate Makopano Rant?o  released Mr Manyokole and his other six alleged fraudsters on the same conditions that they attend remands, not interfere with Crown witnesses and stand trial to finality.

The Crown alleges that all the accused  made false representations to the LAA regarding plot number 13291-1110 resulting in it being allocated and registered in Mr Manyokole’s favour yet the plot  belonged to the family of Mr Manyokole’s wife.

Mr Manyokole is specifically accused of making “false representations” to the LAA to “unlawfully and intentionally” acquire rights over the disputed plot.

He and the rest of the accused allegedly contravened the provisions of section 83 of the Land Act of 2010 by making a false land claim.

Advocate Lepeli Molapo appeared on behalf of all the accused.   He asked for the same bail conditions –  for the six appearing for the first time – to those already given to Mr Manyokole.

“All the accused are released on bail on conditions similar to those of accused number one being that you attend remands, do not interfere with Crown witnesses and stand trial to finality. You shall pay the bail deposit of M1000 each,” Magistrate Rant?o ordered.

Mr Manyokole’s six co-accused are expected back in court  on February 13 2023 with Mr Manyokole himself appearing again on 27 February 2023.