MASERU — A Maseru couple appeared in the Magistrate’s Court on Thursday to answer charges of housebreaking and theft of money amounting to M135 000.
Nyaole Matete, 33, and his wife Makatleho, 27, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The couple were charged together with Matete’s younger brother, Moeti Matete, 21.
Matete’s younger brother, Moeti, later changed his plea while the couple applied for a plea bargain.
The couple were however later released without being charged due to insufficient evidence.
Moeti was not so lucky.
He was slapped with a four-year jail term or an option to pay a M4 000 fine.
Half the amount was suspended on condition he did not commit a similar offence in the next 12 months.
A Chinese businesswoman, Maggie Zhou, who runs a supermarket in Maseru, told the court that Moeti Matete stole M135 000 from the supermarket’s safe.
Matete was employed in the supermarket.
The offence happened in June this year.
Zhou said the accused was however caught on security cameras installed inside the shop, leading to his arrest.
Zhou alleged that Moeti stole the money and hid it around his waist.
“I only saw him on camera. He was wearing a jacket; there was a security guard but he did not see anything because the accused had a big jacket,” she said.
“I called him to talk about the money, not that we didn’t want to go to the police.
“We did not want to waste time going to court.”
Zhou told the court that M130 000 was later recovered by the police at the home of Nyaole Matete and his wife Makatleho.
The money was found hidden in the couple’s wardrobe.
Magistrate Makopano Taole took the defence lawyer, Advocate Mots´oari Mots´oari, to task over his line of cross-examination.
“Please get to the point for your own sake as well as that of the court and your clients. Your line of cross-examination confuses me,” the magistrate said.
Meanwhile, Moeti Matete avoided the long stretch in prison by choosing to pay the M2 000 fine.