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Businessman in inheritance feud

Caswell Tlali

MASERU — A well-known local businessman is embroiled in a messy fight with his stepson over the inheritance of properties and businesses worth millions of maloti.
Taumane Makoko, who runs a fleet of trucks, residential properties and a successful farm in Ladybrand, is being sued by his stepson Thabo Lehasa for inappropriately inheriting the businesses. 
On October 9, Thabo filed an application at the High Court seeking an order directing that property inherited by his stepfather Taumane Makoko be returned to the estate of Fani Makoko and Phello Lehasa.
The family structure is complicated.
According to the court papers, Fani left his wife ‘Manthako Makoko and two sons, Nthako and Taumane, in Kroonstad, South Africa, to come to Lesotho.
In Lesotho, Fani married Phello Lehasa.
Pheelo already had a daughter, Keketso Lehasa, from a previous marriage.
Keketso had a son, Thabo Lehasa.
According to the court papers, Fani and Phello had started building the business empire together.
Phello, the court papers say, already had her own businesses before she married Fani.
The marriage did not produce any children.
After some time, the papers say, Taumane followed his father – Fani – to Lesotho.
Taumane married Keketso who was Phello’s daughter and therefore his stepsister.
Keketso and Taumane had a son, Mokhele, but they divorced in 1984. 
Keketso went back to live with Fani and Phello.
Problems however started when Fani and Phello died.
Fani died in 2006 while Phello passed on the following year.
The family started fighting over the estate they had left.
Taumane then kicked Keketso out of the house she had shared with Fani and Phello saying it belonged to him.
He also took over the family businesses that include a construction material supplier.
But now Keketso’s son, Thabo, says he wants his share of the estate. 
Thabo wants the return of properties and businesses back to Fani and Phello’s estate for a proper assessment.
In his affidavit, Thabo said Taumane is not the rightful heir to the estate.
He said the rightful heir to the estate is Tsie who is son to Taumane’s elder brother Nthako.
Thabo is also seeking to eject his half-brother Mokhele (son to Taumane and Keketso) out of Fani and Phello’s house in Borokhoaneng.
Thabo is challenging the validity of Fani’s will which benefited Taumane.
“At the time Fani allegedly executed the will Fani’s mental state was not fit and proper to execute a will because he was suffering from Alzheimer’s (disease) to such a degree that he was unable to appreciate the nature and contents of the will,” reads Thabo’s affidavit in part.
Thabo is also challenging the validity of the marriage between Fani and Phello.
He alleges that Fani went ahead to marry Phello without first divorcing Manthako, Taumane’s mother.
“Fani had however not disclosed the material fact to (the Master of High Court) that his wife was still surviving and as such she could not have been deprived of her property as they were married in community of property. Therefore the said will is invalid.”
It’s a huge estate that they are fighting over. 
Although Thabo does not list the main assets that they are fighting for in court papers, the Sunday Express managed to trace some of the properties.
They include 14 sites in Maseru, 12 of which have been developed.
Five of these sites are rented properties.
Another business site in Borokhoaneng is being rented out to a sand and crushed stones dealer.
Another developed site is at Sea-Point and it houses Lebusa Electronics.
A place in Ha-Matala in the south-east of the city is housing an animal food enterprise. There is also an orchard at the same property.
There is another site in Sekamaneng, north of Maseru, which has been sold to a trader who is currently building duplex flats on it.
Fani and Phello also had a site in Borokhoaneng at which they reared chickens.
The battle also involves a fleet of 18 vehicles.
Among them are seven Isuzu vans including double and single cabs.
The vehicles also include trucks and private cars.
But the estate is much bigger than this.
It also includes two mealie-meal tanks which were rented out to Maseru Roller Mills.
Fani and Phello also owned a farm in Ladybrand called Esperance.
The value of the properties has not been quantified yet but the Sunday Express understands that they are worth millions of maloti.
Taumane told this newspaper that he would not comment because the matter was still being dealt with at the courts.
Thabo also said he could not comment because the matter was still in court.
The Sunday Express understands that Keketso has been staying in a rented house since she was kicked out by Taumane.

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