MASERU — In politics they say there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests.
That statement seems to hold true in business too at least according the latest twist to the battle for the control of the Lesotho Public Motor Transport Company (LPMTC), a company wholly owned by the Lesotho Bus and Taxi Owners Association (LBTOA).
Barely two months ago, Ishmael Monare, a trustee of the LBTOA, joined forces with the chairman of LPMTC Moeketsi “Chaltin” Tsatsanyane to push out the managing director of LPMTC.
Their common enemy at that time was Makhoabe Mohaleroe, an ex-convict whom they accused of fraudulently taking over the company with his son.
After a gruelling court battle Monare and Tsatsanyane prevailed to push out Mohaleroe together with his son, Pule, out of LPMTC.
But with Mohaleroe out of the picture Monare and Tsatsanyane have turned against each other as they tussle for the control of the company.
They lead opposing factions that all claim to be in charge of the LBTOA and LPMTC.
Each faction has its own executive committee that it claims to be lawfully in charge of the association.
Whoever controls the association will be in charge of the investment company, LPMTC.
LMPTC owns properties at the Maseru main bus stop.
The property houses a filling station, a supermarket and six other businesses that pay monthly rentals.
Monare’s faction elected its executive committee on July 10 but efforts to get it registered hit a brick wall at the law office two weeks later.
Monare’s lawyers, Hudssons Chambers, discovered that Tsatsanyane had written the Registrar General, Sents’uoe Mohau, warning that the Monare executive committee was bogus.
On July 29 Hudssons Chambers filed an urgent application in the High Court to compel the Registrar General to register the Monare executive committee.
The applicants are LBTOA and LPMTC while Tsatsanyane is one of the respondents together with the registrars and the attorney-general.
In his affidavit, Monare says Tsatsanyane “is the erstwhile executive member of the (LBTOA) now frustrating the registration of the in-coming executive committee”.
“Mr Makhetha (officer in the Registrar General’s office) candidly unfolded that the lawyer of a certain faction headed by Mr Moeketsi Tsatsanyane has lodged a complaint to the effect that our submitted
Monare argues that Tsatsanyane, who is the board chairman of the LPMTC, “is not a subscribed member of our association”.
“I found myself in a quagmire to have our association executive committee denied due registration at the instance of Mr Tsatsanyane who could not challenge the propriety thereof as he is not the subscribed member of our association.”
Monare also says the lawyer for Tsatsanyane’s faction, Koili Ndebele, orchestrates “the mission to frustrate the registering of our executive committee using letterheads and addresses of (LBTOA) without due mandate”.
Monare told the court that they failed to resolve the matter out of court with Tsatsanyane because he walked out of the meeting saying he was “going to People’s Choice FM Radio on political matters”.
But in his answering affidavit, Tsatsanyane also says Monare has no legal basis in the case.
He further alleges that Monare is employed by the LPMTC as operations manager and “is fully under my control and supervision as managing director” and “could not have moved this application without my know”.
“The deponent (writer) of the founding affidavit (Monare) has failed materially to disclose that I am the chairman and managing director of the second respondent company,” says Tsatsanyane.
“Monare has failed to disclose that there is another trustee with whom they have to work together in the interest of the association as such could not act unilaterally without the other trustee being.”
The LPMTC’s other trustee that Tsatsanyane is referring to is Chief Nkau Nkuebe.
Tsatsanyane makes other serious allegations against Monare including that he had taken the association’s stamps, receipt books and other documents.
He alleges that Monare “has gone around collecting monies from people purporting to register them as members of the association”.
“It is very important to inform this Honourable Court that I am the founding member of the association,” says Tsatsanyane.
“Through changes in its executive committees and management of the association, I was subsequently appointed as a secretary of the applicant association in 1988. I served as such until 1996 when I was appointed chairman of the association.”
Tsatsanyane says in 2008 he was appointed chairman of the LPMTC board and its managing director.
“I am the longest serving member of the executive committee of (LBTOA) and understand clearly how it operates together with all its relationship with (LPMTC) wherein I am a director.”