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Businessman fears for his life after attack

Nat Molomo

MASERU — Lesotho Public Motor Transport Company (LPMTC) director, Ishmael Monare, says he now fears for his life after he was attacked last week by taxi owners who want to take over the company.

A group of taxi owners shut down LPMTC’s properties in the bus stop area last Saturday after a dispute over control of the company turned nasty.
The taxi operators, who claim to be members of the Lesotho Bus and Taxi Owners Association (LBTOA) which they say owns the LPMTC, wanted to collect rentals from tenants at the company’s property.

Monare who claims to be the majority shareholder of the company was beaten after he tried to stop them from harassing the tenants. A tenant was also beaten after he tried to open his business. Monare says the mob twisted the steering wheel of his Mercedes Benz and it crashed.

He then fled the scene on foot and was admitted at a local hospital overnight. Monare claims he now fears for his life because some of the taxi owners have threatened to kill him if he comes to the company’s property.
Monare makes the claims in an application he filed in the High Court this week to block the taxi owners from interfering with LPMTC operations.

The application is against 19 respondents who include the attorney general, companies which are tenants at the LPMTC property and the taxi owners. In his affidavit, Monare claims that the taxi owners have illegally taken over the company in which he says he owns 3 998 out of 4 000 shares.

The taxi owners, he says, should also be interdicted from collecting rentals from the company’s tenants. He says the order must also bar the taxi owners from “holding themselves out as directors, officers, officials, management, shareholders and/or members” of LPMTC until the application is finalised.

The taxi owners are Moejane Mahlaha, ‘Matumelo Patose, Khotso Lebakeng, Ts’ekelo Monare, Thabiso Justinus Sello, Motsoahae Motsoahae, Julius Phafoli, Thato Maqalika, Motebele ‘Mabathoana Napo Kapa and Likome Mabula.
Monare alleges that the group used chicanery to change the company’s shareholding structure and appoint new directors.

To his court papers Monare attached documents showing that Karabo Mabote, Motlatsi Mabote, ‘Mampai Lebeko, and ‘Mamosala Mokitimi were removed from the LPMTC’s board of directors through unlawful means. He wants the change in both ownership and directorship declared unlawful and invalid.

He is also asking the court to order the taxi owners to desist from insulting and threatening to kill him. The property at the centre of the dispute is a building that houses at least seven shops and the Maluti Filling Station at the main bus stop in Maseru. Monare and Moeketsi Tsatsanyane, a former politician, ganged up against a local businessman, Makhoabe Mohaleroe, who claimed to own the business together with his son.

Mohaleroe was kicked out in 2010 after the High Court declared him unfit to hold directorship in the company because he was once convicted of fraud.
But soon after that Monare and Tsatsanyane turned against each other.
And last year Monare fired Tsatsanyane as the managing director. Since then Monare has had several court battles with LBTOA members who want to wrestle control of the company from him. The taxi owners say Monare has no stake in the company.

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