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‘Prolific’ four denied bail

by Sunday Express
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Nat Molomo

MASERU — Four men who allegedly went on a three-week crime spree this month were on Friday denied bail when they appeared at the Maseru Magistrates’ Court.
The accused — Abia Sekese, 39, of Ha Khechane in Maseru,  Mohato Molapo, 27, of Ha Khotso, Maseru, Mokhina Ralitapole, 38, of Bela-Bela , Berea, and Thapelo Mpobole, 32, of Ha-Tsosane, Maseru — are facing six counts, including house-breaking, theft, forgery and fraud committed between January 9 and 27.
On the forgery charge, the accused are said to have defrauded a total of 20 service providers through forged cheques allegedly stolen from the Department of Rural Roads in Maseru.  
Prosecutor Gcinimuzi Tshabalala told the court the accused broke into the offices of the Department of Rural Roads on January 19 and stole 40.
In another charge, the suspects allegedly defrauded Xing Long Shop of goods worth M2 690 on January 24 after presenting an employee of the shop, Tello Mosokela, with a fraudulent cheque in the name of Habofoane Phasumane.
The court also heard the accused allegedly committed similar crimes on three more occasions in Maseru.
In yet another count, the four are being accused of having been found in possession of fraudulent temporary travel documents on January 27 in Maseru.
The defendants asked the court to grant them bail, but the prosecutor opposed the application saying one of the accused had tried to escape from police custody.
“We ask the court to remand the accused in custody until February 12,” said Tshabalala. 
In his bail application, Sekese pleaded with presiding magistrate ‘Makopano Taole, telling the court he was a student and would miss out on his studies should he incarcerated.
“I’m asking for bail as I’m a student at the Lesotho Agricultural College. If I am to be kept in custody until February 12 it would interfere with my school programme,” Sekese said.
The rest of the accused also gave different reasons why they were applying for bail.
The court, however, insisted that they should remain in custody until February 12.

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