MASERU — A Maseru woman says she rues the day she gave her money to Popo Matšoara, secretary-general of the opposition All Basotho Convention party’s youth league, to buy her a car in Durban.
She said she gave M30 000 to Matšoara in July and he was supposed to deliver the car after a few weeks.
The woman, who works for a local insurance firm, requested that her name not be mentioned because she fears that Matšoara’s political connections may cause her harm.
She said for the past four months Matšoara has told her different stories every time she has asked him about the car or a refund.
She told the Sunday Express that sometime in July she discussed her plans to buy a car with her sister.
Her sister, she said, referred her to Matšoara.
“My sister said Matšoara could help because he could get cars from South Africa,” she said.
A meeting was arranged, she said.
She said in that meeting Matšoara told her that he dealt in repossessed cars from South Africa so he would be able to get her the car.
After a few days Matšoara told her he had found a Toyota Tazz from South Africa.
“He asked for M10 000 which he said was intended to secure the car,” she said.
“I gave it to him because he said it was meant to secure the car.”
She said after some time Matšoara came back and told her that he had decided not to buy the Toyota Tazz because some people had told him that it was not in good working condition.
“He said the car was once involved in an accident,” she said.
Matšoara did not reimburse the money but instead proposed a new deal, she said.
“He came back to me and advised me to buy a Toyota Corolla worth M24 000 from Durban,” she said, adding that she was quite reluctant to part with that amount of money especially after Matšoara had failed to deliver on the first deal.
Matšoara then told her that he would provide the bank account number of the Durban-based company that was selling the car, she said.
Eventually she agreed to give him M14 000 which he deposited at First National Bank and gave her the deposit slip.
Later, she said, Matšoara asked for another M3 000 which he said was for a carrier to transport the car from Durban to Maseru.
She said she obliged but that did stop Matšoara from making more financial demands.
“He asked for another M3 000 which he said was for clearance,” she said.
After that Matšoara informed her that he had bought the car, she said.
“I was excited when I heard that he had got the car,” she said.
But her excitement was short-lived.
“The following day Matšoara did not say a word,” she said.
He only came back to her two days later.
“He kept making excuses for not bringing the car to me,” she said.
And when she pushed harder Matšoara told her that he was still making arrangements to register the car because the M3 000 she had given him was not enough, she said.
“It was surprising because from the beginning he said M3 000 would cater for all the registration procedures,” she said.
She said days passed but Matšoara did not bring the car or receipts to prove its purchase from Durban.
“I was at that time the only one making calls to him. He no longer called me as he did before,” she said.
“I called him every day. I wanted to get my car.”
After many days of waiting in vain for Matšoara to deliver the car, she became frustrated.
“It took about three to four weeks without him giving me the car so I lost hope,” she said.
Then she started suspecting she could have been duped after all.
“There were no receipts and no car. Matšoara was not willing to show me the car,” she said.
After a further few weeks of numerous calls and empty promises Matšoara eventually agreed to refund her, she said.
“In the first place he gave me back M10 000 and after a long time he gave me M5 000,” she said.
Soon Matšoara stopped making the payments and until now she has not received the balance.
She said Matšoara said he will sell that car so that he can pay her back but she does not believe that the vehicle ever existed.
“He promised to pay me last week Friday but he has not uttered a word until today (Monday),” she said.
“He is not even taking my calls.”
Matšoara confirmed that he owed the woman money but said he was surprised that she had decided to take the matter to the media.
He said he was not willing to give details of the Toyota Tazz because the “seller said it did not have proper registration documents”.
“She first of all gave me M10 000 and then M15 000,” Matšoara said.
He said he brought the car to Lesotho but “unfortunately customs duty charges had changed”.
“The tax increased from M3 000 to M6 400,” he said.
He said the woman said she could not afford to pay that tax and they agreed that he could sell the car to recover her money.
“We agreed to sell that car to someone else who would afford it,” he said.
He said the car in question was still in the state warehouse “waiting to be sold”.
He admits that he still owes the woman M15 000 but insists that he is about to pay her back.
Matšoara came to the Sunday Express offices with a document which he said was proof that the car was still at the state warehouse.