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Judge sues Harvest FM Radio for M8 million

Nat Molomo

MASERU — High Court judge Justice ’Maseroro Mahase is demanding M8 million from Harvest FM for what she claims were defamatory remarks made during the radio station’s programme on July 14.
Justice Mahase claims that the defamatory remarks were made during the station’s Rise and Shine programme.
The remarks, according to a letter of demand from Justice Mahase’s lawyer Mokorosi Chobokoane, were made by Nthinya Mofoka and Kalaele Mofoka who are brothers.
“The comments were to the effect that client (Justice Mahase) was paid a bribery hence she committed Jobo Mofoka to prison, that she is corrupt and is not fit to be a judge,” the letter states.
Nthinya and Kalaele were angry that Justice Mahase had jailed Jobo Mofoka, their brother, for contempt of court when she was hearing a case in which two local businessmen, Tumo Tlelai and Moorosi Tsatsanyane are fighting over a quarry mine.
Both businessmen claim they have rights the mine.
The quarry mine is in Mokunutlung, an area which falls under the chieftainship of the Mofokas.
Jobo is brother to Chief Lehlola Mofoka whose people have also laid a claim to the quarry mine saying it falls within their area.
Jobo’s trouble started after he was accused of helping Tsatsanyane’s men in their attempt to take over the mine.
The men were armed with a court judgment from Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi stating that the mine belonged to Tsatsanyane and not Tlelai.
In the meantime, Tlelai also had an order from Justice Mahase saying he was the rightful owner of the mine.
This is the court order that Jobo is alleged to have violated when he allegedly helped Tsatsanyane’s men in their attempt to take over the mine.
Apparently, Justice Mahase had earlier on barred Tlelai from operating the mine and jailed him for contempt of court when he ignored her court order.
Justice Mahase sentenced Jobo to 30 days in prison for contempt of court on July 11.
Angered by the judgment, Nthinya and Kalaele lashed out at Justice Mahase on Harvest FM.
Now, Justice Mahase says the radio station must pay for giving the two brothers a platform to attack her.
She accuses the radio station of allowing the two brothers to damage her reputation by making false and malicious allegations.
“The management of Harvest FM Radio Station did not, prior to that radio broadcast, first seek clarification or the views of court by following normal channels or procedures,” Chobokoane said in his letter of demand to the radio station.
“As a result, this allowed a distorted and malicious publication, with serious negative aspersions cast against the said judge.”
The letter addressed to Harvest FM Radio boss ’Malichaba Lekhoaba states that the “manageress of the station who at the time was conducting the programme, permitted and failed to stop the two Mofoka brothers mentioned above from making defamatory comments (about the judge) to her.”
“She also opened a discussion to the listeners who also made further defamatory comments towards our client, without controlling them.”
Chobokane states that Nthinya and Kalaele’s comments were understood by the public and listeners of Harvest FM Radio to mean that Justice Mahase is corrupt.
“As a result, the client has suffered damages in the sum of M8 000 000 for which she holds you all liable jointly and severally, one paying the other to be absolved,” he states.
The lawyer states that his instructions are that the amount should be paid within 30 days.

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