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Fraudster set to appear in court for mitigation

Nat Molomo

MASERU — A South African national who was on Tuesday convicted of defrauding the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) of M2.4 million will appear in court on September 24 for mitigation.
Stephen Thabo Dlamini, 54, was accused of conniving with his girlfriend who worked as an accountant at the LHDA to defraud the authority between 2004 and 2005.
Dlamini’s girlfriend, Peggy Thakeli, has since been convicted and is serving time at Maseru Central Prison.
The case was before High Court judge Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase.
The court heard that Dlamini connived with Thakeli who worked in the LHDA procurement department and manipulated the computer system to make it appear as if his fictitious company, Iketsetseng Hardware Centre, had supplied goods to the authority.
Delivering judgment Justice Mahase said the evidence that had been presented against the accused was too heavy and there was no reason to doubt it.
The court heard that Dlamini had opened a bank account at Boliba Savings Credit using a forged passport which he had also used to get a trading licence.
It also heard that Thakeli forged signatures of some LHDA officials to defraud ABSA and the LHDA of M2.4 million. The court also heard how Dlamini bribed two former Telecom Lesotho technicians to intercept LHDA communication lines after paying them M20 000 each.
The two, Mampho Mohapi and Seqao Phenya, who became accomplice witnesses were however cleared and were exempted from prosecution.
The duo are said to have helped Dlamini to divert LHDA fax and phone lines to his home.
Dlamini was charged on June 2005 in the Maseru Magistrate’s Court and granted a M10 000 bail pending trial.
He appeared in court on August 25, 2005 when his trial was postponed to September 2005.
He however skipped bail and left for London where he spend sometime.
He came back in July 2008.
He was rearrested on August 1, 2008 in Maseru by officers of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences after a Maseru Magistrate’s Court issued a warrant of arrest against him.

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