MASERU — The wife of the deputy principal secretary in the Communications ministry Ratokelo Nkoka has been accused of siphoning M20 520 from a church organisation for which she was a coordinator.
’Maitumeleng Nkoka was suspended from the Student Christian Movement (SCM) in November to make way for investigations.
On Friday police spokesperson Masupha Masupha confirmed that the matter has been reported to the fraud squad but refused to give further details.
The report was made by SCM’s general secretary Seabata Makoae in September.
Because Ratokelo Nkoka is also the treasurer of SCM there have been allegations that he could have connived with his wife to allegedly defraud the interdenominational organisation.
’Maitumeleng is alleged to have transferred SCM’s monies into her FNB account over a number of months.
She is alleged to have instructed tenants at the SCM’s properties at Ecumenical Centre in Maseru West to deposit rentals into her private account without authority from her bosses.
Nkoka and his wife are members of the Lesotho Evangelical Church.
Nkoka has confirmed that his wife has been suspended from work pending investigations after the SCM’s executive committee discovered that some money was missing.
He however denied allegations that he could have had a hand in the alleged fraud.
Nkoka said although he was the SCM’s treasurer he had nothing to do with the money his wife is alleged to have stolen.
He told the Sunday Express that his wife had never confided in him about the money even after she was confronted by the association and suspended from work.
“Even I as the treasurer and the husband of the suspected person was in the dark about the whereabouts of this money,” Nkoka said on Friday.
“My wife never told me anything about it,” he said.
“I was in the search like the rest of the association members and I never knew the role played by my wife in the disappearance of the money.”
Nkoka however defended his wife saying “it has to be understood that whatever she did was in good faith and some people are giving it a wrong interpretation.”
“I have worked for this organisation and I still serve it to the best of my abilities,” he said, adding: “I believe my wife had good intentions but I want you to know that I was not involved in those good or bad intentions.”
“I am still the treasurer and as you will understand the association would remove me if I was part of what ’M`e ’Maitumeleng has done.”
The Sunday Express saw a letter Makoae wrote to fraud unit in September.
Makoae’s letter says the SCM’s main source of income is rentals from their buildings at Ecumenical Centre, which house two security companies, Safe Guards Security and Securiforce (Pty) Ltd.
Makoae says Securiforce’s head office in Bloemfontein told ’Maitumeleng that they had problems transferring their rentals from their bank to the SCM’s Standard Lesotho Bank.
’Maitumeleng then opened an account in her name with the FNB in Maseru, Makoae alleges.
“It was during a meeting of the Executive Committee of SCM held at SCM office on August 13, 2011 that the Treasurer Ratokelo Nkoka reported to the Executive Committee that SecuriForce was in arrears on their rental payment by some seven months at that time,” reads Makoae’s letter in part.
“The Treasurer (Nkoka) had further reported that he had on a number of occasions tried to contact the managers of SecuriForce to no avail.
“It was during that meeting that he (Ratokelo Nkoka) asked the General Secretary to intervene.”
Makoae says he called the SecuriForce head office to inquire why they were not paying their rentals and was told that there was proof of payment into an account ’Maitumeleng had given to the company.
“Such proof of payments were sent to me, I have statements available,” Makoae told the police in the letter.
’Maitumeleng allegedly denied SecuriForce’s claims that it had paid.
Makoae’s letter however says the tenants paid M2 280 per month which adds up to M20 520 from January to September 2011.
The letter says the SCM chairperson Mpho Sebeko sent Makoae and ’Maitumeleng to FNB to request a statement “to verify or reconcile the proof of payments against the claims by ’Maitumeleng Nkoka that no funds were being deposited”.
The FNB allegedly refused them access to the statement on grounds that it was unethical to reveal a customer’s information to a third party.
“The bank will not be able to print the statements before the account has been credited with that amount,” Ntjabane allegedly said.
“The bank can only make available such statements at the request of the police.”
Efforts to contact ’Maitumeleng were not successful as her mobile phone was constantly unavailable.