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Battle for company rages

by Sunday Express
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Caswell Tlali
MASERU — Representatives of the Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) last week failed to appear in the High Court to testify in a civil case in which a businessman is fighting to retain control of a local company.
Justice Semapo Peete had ordered the LCS to give oral evidence about businessman Makhoabe Mohaleroe’s imprisonment at Maseru Central Prison for fraud.
Evidence that Mohaleroe was convicted for fraud could disqualify him from holding a position as director of any company, according to section 144 of the Companies Act.
Mohaleroe is fighting against the Lesotho Bus and Taxi Owners Association (LBTOA) over the ownership and control of the Lesotho Public Motor Transport Company (LPMTC).
Court papers show that the LPMTC was formed by the LBTOA in 1979.
The LBTOA claims to have control over the company.
Mohaleroe, on the other hand, claims he and his son, Pule Mohaleroe, are now the sole owners of the company after they bought shares from one LBTOA director.
The LBTOA on November 10, 2008, appointed what it claimed to be a new board for the company excluding Mohaleroe.
Mohaleroe on October 23 last year won an appeal that restored his LPMTC directorship.
The Registrar of Companies in November declined to register the LBTOA’s new board, led by retired politician Moeketsi Tsatsanyane as chairman.
The LBTOA then filed a court application seeking to force the Registrar of Companies to register the new board excluding Mohaleroe.
Mohaleroe in turn filed his own application, as an interested party, seeking to intervene in the LBTOA case.
He said the LBTOA had no locus standi to appoint a new board because he and his son were the only rightful owners of the company.
The LBTOA argued that Mohaleroe was not fit to serve on any company’s board because he was an ex-convict.
It attached a letter from prison authorities showing that Mohaleroe was convicted and imprisoned from 1988 to 1989 at Maseru Central Prison.
However, Mohaleroe’s lawyers AM Chobokoane Chambers argued that the evidence was insufficient hence the judge’s order for oral testimony.
Justice Peete on Monday ordered the LCS to appear before him to give oral evidence about Mohaleroe’s incarceration.
However, no officer from the LCS showed up in court on Tuesday by 11am when the case was supposed to be heard.
It was postponed to 2.30pm, but again no one representing the LCS showed up.
Justice Peete then deferred the case to Wednesday at 1100 hours and 1430 hours respectively but LCS officers once again failed to pitch up.
The court was not given any reason for the LCS’s failure to appear before the judge.
Justice Peete was on Thursday expected to continue without the LCS’s oral evidence but the case did not proceed because LBTOA lawyer Tekane Maqakachane had other commitments.
The case is set to continue tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Pule was fighting his own battle over the LPMTC after filing an urgent application seeking to be enjoined in his father’s application in the LBTOA case.
Justice Kelello Guni on Thursday and Friday heard Pule’s lawyer, David Serabele, argue that his client was a co-director of the LPMTC with his father and that his directorship had never been challenged in any court.
Serabele said the Tsatsanyane-led board was not authorised to interfere in the affairs of the company.
Serabele argued that Pule’s application to intervene was meant to protect him should a judgment in the LBTOA case bar his father from being a director because of his criminal record.
He also argued that it was not automatic that Moheleroe would be disqualified from holding any directorship because of his previous conviction and incarceration.
Koili Ndebele, representing the Tsatsanyane-led board, argued that it was improper that Pule was seeking to be enjoined in an application filed by an allegedly disqualified person, his father.
Ndebele said Pule’s appointment by his disqualified father to be a director of LPMTC was improper.
Judgment will be passed on Wednesday.

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