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IEC commissioner plans to sue ABC youth leader

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Caswell Tlali

MASERU — The IEC commissioner Malefetsane Nkhahle says he plans to sue Libe Moremoholo, the All Basotho Convention (ABC) youth leader, for defamation.
Nkhahle says Moremoholo damaged his reputation when he told this newspaper and a local radio station that he wasted public funds when he attended a workshop that had been cancelled in the United States.
Last week Moremoholo told the Sunday Express and Harvest FM that Nkhahle and IEC information officer Tuoe Hantši had insisted on attending the August 2009 workshop when they knew well that it had been cancelled.
According to Moremoholo, Nkhahle and Hantši had information that the workshop had been postponed but still flew to America because they wanted to get per diems.
Nkhahle’s business class ticket cost M79 000 while Hantši’s in the economy class was M45 000, Moremoholo said.
“Apart from that, each of them paid US$1 900 (M13 300) for tuition that never took place because, as you can see, the workshop was never held,” Moremoholo alleged.
Nkhahle said Moremoholo’s allegations are false and he is now planning to sue him for libel.
“I have taken these things to my lawyer who will advise me what to do. I plan to sue him (Moremoholo) for defamation,” Nkhahle said this week.
“I am convinced that he deliberately defamed me because I called him more than once and he did not answer his phone. I sent him a text message but he never answered,” he said.
“I could say perhaps he did not hear the phone ringing and therefore did not answer but surely he received the text message and he should have replied.”
Nkhahle said he wanted to respond to Moremoholo’s allegations and give him his side of the story.
Last week Hantši denied that they knew that the workshop had been cancelled when they left Maseru in August 2009.
Nkhahle this week provided this paper with documents he claimed were proof that when they left Maseru to Washington DC they were not aware that the workshop had been postponed to December.
The documents show email correspondences between Hantši and Nicole Hark, logistics specialist for the American University’s Centre for Democracy and Election Management which was supposed to host the workshop.
In one of the emails Hark tells Nkhahle and Hantši that he was not aware that they were coming for the workshop.
“As we did not receive documentation of the wire transfer from your office regarding that payment (tuition fee), we were unaware that you were making travel plans,” reads Hark’s letter.
Hark also promised to arrange appointments with institutions and organisations that were lined-up for presentation at the workshop so that Nkhahle and Hantši could receive tuition they had come for. “Please understand, however, that this would not be the same as the institute sessions, and you would need to cover all your expenses,” Hark warned.
Hark then arranged that they meet Angela Migally from the New York University’s Brennan Centre for Justice. Nkhahle and Hantši took an eight-hour bus trip to get to that meeting, according to the emails.
The documents show that they also met Amy Loprest, executive director for the New York City Campaign Finance Board.
They also had several meetings with other presenters in Washington DC as well as representatives of women voter organisation.
There is also evidence that the programme fee they had paid was refunded on December 3, 2009 by the American University’s Office of Finance.
The refund amount was US$4 337 paid to the IEC special account, 0140017971201, at Standard Lesotho Bank in Maseru.
The money was transferred from Washington DC to Maseru by wire method, using the Custom House Exchange based at US Trading Office in Toronto, Canada.

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