MASERU — Five people aged between 22 and 27 are each facing charges of defrauding the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) by allegedly selling bogus tickets at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday.
As a result of the alleged fraud Lefa lost M150 000 during the Matlama/Supersport match a fortinight ago.
The accused — Nkunyane Rapotso, Mabea Tabi, Sepono Seretse, Poone Ntsie and Makonosoang Ntsie — briefly appeared in the Maseru magistrate’s court on Tuesday.
They were each granted bail on condition that each pay M200 deposit and they do not interfere with investigations and or crown witnesses.
They are expected to appear before the magistrate’s court again on March 1.
Two of the accused — Poone and Makonosoang Ntsie — are Epic Printing workers. Lefa print their tickets are Epic Printing.
The tickets were each sold at M30 for the Royal stand, M20 for the rest of the stadium and M10 for children.
“The said accused are charged with the crime of fraud in that upon or about the 13th day of February 2011 amid, at or near Setsoto Stadium in the district of Maseru, the said accused did unlawfully each one or all of them and with intent to steal from Lesotho Football Association sold to potential spectators of the Matlama/Supersport game fraudulently obtained tickets,” court papers read.
“Thereby further inducing the said spectators and Lefa to loss and prejudice to the extent of M150, 000 whereas the said accused did well knew at the time of the misrepresentation that the said tickets were fraudulently obtained thus committing the crime of fraud.”
Lefa chief executive officer Mofihli Makoele told the Sunday Express the association was more alert to tickets scam on Sunday.
“Normally our tickets bear a national flag.
“But during the Malawi Lesotho match, we removed the Lesotho flag and replaced that with the Lefa flag.
“But because these people have been studying the trend that our tickets bear the national flag, they thought we were going to make the same tickets and they started producing fake ones.
“During the Matlama/Supersport match, we decided to use tickets with watermarks to ensure that we do not encounter the problem of fake tickets like what happened during the Malawi/Lesotho match.”
Makoele said the police were on Sunday tipped off after officers deployed at the stadium gates discovered the fake tickets.
“After discovering the fake tickets, one of the officers asked one or two people where they had bought the fake tickets.
“The same officer, disguised, went to the accused with a police officer and pretended to buy a ticket and that is how they were caught.
“There are some who ran away and were never caught.”