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Let justice run its course

A SOUTH African judge will be imported to handle the MKM case which has been stuck in the High Court since 2007 when the company was shut down for running a Ponzi scheme.

Barring unforeseen impediments, the fate of the company that hoodwinked 300 000 people into believing they would have fat bank accounts overnight will be sealed by November 26.

This is a welcome development especially at a time pressure was mounting on the government to bail out what is essentially a criminal activity.

The MKM saga recently saw a cacophonous lobby group including MPs petitioning Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili to intervene in the case.

If the government were to give in to that sycophantic clamour disguised as a national outcry then its reputation would have been left in tatters.

You cannot run a government and make sensible policies by yielding to mobocracy.

We all know — including those who appointed themselves MKM apologists — what happens to people who run similar Ponzi schemes elsewhere.

They are locked up in jail.

If Simon Thebe-a-Khale believes he was running an honest business, he surely can prove himself in court.

An audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a South African accounting firm, discovered that of the M400 million invested by more than 300 000 people in MKM only M100 million could be accounted for.

MKM has challenged these figures and insists that its obligations are much less.

Probably that’s why Thebe-a-Khale has been seen as a victim of government authorities who are strangely perceived to be against indigenous business initiatives.

That’s why the MKM case has dragged on for three years.

The case has over the years been conveniently politicised because even ministers and judges were foolish enough to invest their money in the dubious scheme.

We sympathise with all the people who were lured into depositing their hard-earned monies and pensions into Thebe-a-Khale’s enrichment scheme.

And we know the majority of them are poor.

We are not in any way against them getting their money or part of it back.

But first things first: the law has to take its course.

It is our hope that MKM sympathisers will not attempt to derail the latest effort to bring to finality the long-running saga.

Local judges have had to recuse themselves from the case for different reasons.

Either they were not comfortable with its “political” nature or they received nocturnal visits from people suspected to be Thebe-ea-Khale’s emissaries.

A fortnight ago Finance Minister Timothy Thahane said he had received death threats over the MKM saga because he was seen as pushing for the liquidation of the company.

These are regrettable incidents.

And we hope the apostles of apologia will not once again poke their fingers into the case.

Once justice is done, then people can start pontificating how the unfortunate MKM depositors can salvage something out of the mess — including, yes, a government bail-out.

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