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Central Bank governor accused of dishonesty

Caswell Tlali

MASERU — Central Bank of Lesotho Governor Dr Retšelišitšoe Matlanyane has infuriated a customer of a company she claimed trades illegally when she told the High Court that she supported her statement.
Matlanyane told High Court judge Justice Thamsanqa Nomncongo in an affidavit that a Phokeng Funeral Parlour customer Palesa Lekhooa concurred with her.
The Central Bank attached an affidavit which it said was deposed by Lekhooa against Phokeng Funeral Parlour.
However, Lekhooa has written an opposing affidavit against the Central Bank. She denied that she supported the Central Bank against Phokeng.
Phokeng has sued the Central Bank for publicly announcing that it is trading illegally, instructing Nedbank to freeze its accounts and warning customers not to pay their monthly premiums.
The affidavit by Phokeng’s customer, Lekhooa, was never discussed in court because the Central Bank withdrew it.
Lekhooa, a member of Remmoho Burial Society scheme which collects premiums on behalf of Phokeng Funeral Parlour, deposed an opposing affidavit saying she did not even know Matlanyane.
Lekhooa’s affidavit shows that the Central Bank used her signature which she put on a paper at the bank’s premises on belief that it only proved that she had attended a meeting.
“I must point out at this juncture that we were called by representative from Central Bank through Harvest FM to come to its offices about matter relating to Phokeng Funeral Parlour,” Lekhooa said in affidavit.
“When we got (to the) Central Bank we were told about the illegal activities of Phokeng and ABC and also asked to provide our receipts as they have power to shut it,” she said.
“After the discussions Miss Thakane Tau called us to another room where she made us sign a document which we thought was for attendance.”
Lekhooa said she was shocked days later when she went to Phokeng Funeral Parlour to pay her monthly premium and she was told that she had deposed an affidavit against the company.
“I was never told that I would be used as a witness in court or to depose to any affidavit,” she writes.
“I have not made any affidavit on oaths before any commissioner. I must inform this Honourable Court further that I do not align myself with the contents of the affidavit which is claimed I deposed to.”
“I never read the affidavit of the Commissioner of Insurance (and) I do not even know her.”
The Phokeng Funeral Parlour’s director Tebatso Molapo says he doubts the genuineness of the purpose of Central Bank’s charge against his company following revelations of Lekhooa’s affidavit.
“I have lost hope in the Central Bank,” Molapo said.
“I fail to understand why they did this if they are sure that we are trading illegally,” he said.
“In my understanding, they should have searched for evidence against Phokeng and find people to depose to the affidavits instead of doing this unprofessional thing.”
“This is dishonesty, which I believe should not be displayed anywhere near a financial institution especially the Central Bank.”
Central Bank’s spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

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