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LCCI: Phafane gives in

Caswell Tlali

 

MASERU — Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) president Kuena Phafane on Wednesday finally complied with a court order to allow LCCI staff and executives access into the organisation’s offices.

But when the officials entered the office they found it empty with only their personal belongings tucked away in a corner.

Phafane had allegedly moved the office furniture, record files and computers to another office he is believed to have secretly established when he barred the other LCCI officials from using the offices in Maseru West.

The new office is understood to be located in New Europa.

The Sunday Express understands that Phafane moved the LCCI property to the new office on May 19.

Phafane, who is also Denmark’s honorary consular to Lesotho, has been fighting with the other executive members for the control of the LCCI for the past three months.

The executive members accuse Phafane of dishonesty and flouting corporate governance ethics.

In March, Phafane changed the locks at the LCCI offices and barred staff and executive members from using the offices.

When the executive members were granted a court order to compel him to reopen the offices, Phafane refused.

Instead he is alleged to have shoved the court messenger out of his office and told him that he could only be seen by appointment.

But on Wednesday Phafane relented and told the executive members that they were now free to use the office again.

When staff and executive members arrived they found the office empty.

LCCI executive secretary Lebeko Notsi told the Sunday Express yesterday that Phafane had deceived them into believing that he had complied with the court order to grant them access to the offices.

“He actually cheated us further,” said Notsi, who has been leading the fight against Phafane.

“This was a deceitful act because he knew full well that he had moved all important office records and other things from Maseru West to Old Europa.

“He knew that what I was going to find in the office were my personal belongings only.

“I have been asking him to open the office so that I could take my personal belongings that were there when he changed the locks but he had always refused.”

Phafane moved the office furniture including documents to Old Europa after he allegedly snubbed the court messenger who had gone to serve him with a court order at his Danish Consulate office.

“Opening the office for us now serves no purpose,” Notsi said.

Notsi said he believed that crucial evidence against Phafane might be destroyed.

He said they had wanted to use the records to compile a report about Phafane’s dealings.

The report would be tabled before the LCCI annual general conference, the association’s highest decision-making assembly.

The report, according to Notsi, would have shown how Phafane and two other senior members of the association allegedly illegally formed a private company registered in the LCCI’s name.

Several other corporate governance issues casting aspersions on Phafane’s leadership style were also going to be included in the report, Notsi said.

Phafane told the Sunday Express yesterday that he would not comment because he was in a meeting.

When he was contacted again later he did not pick his phone.

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