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PC FM row turns ugly

MASERU — The row over the control of People’s Choice FM is getting uglier.

Last week Mohau Thakaso — who claims to be the radio station’s majority shareholder — accused a fellow director, Hubbard Monaheng, of threatening to kill him.

Thakaso made the allegations in a letter he wrote to a prosecutor in the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Thabang Motsamai, on August 26.

Motsamai is prosecuting the PC FM case which started on August 13.

Thakaso, who has been fighting to wrest control of the station from other directors since 2006, said Monaheng threatened to kill him when he visited the station on August 21.

He said he had visited the station in the company of the managing director of Highlands Security Company and his employees.

He said Monaheng first asked him what he was doing at the station.

“He told the security firm to go home saying to Ntate Abia, the supervisor ‘Tloha mona itlheke hobane mali a tlo tsoloha hona joale,’” Thakaso claimed in his letter.

Loosely translated, this means “leave this place because blood is about to be shed”.

“He then turned to me and said: ‘Uena ke tla u bolaea,’” Thakaso continued.

This means “I will kill you” in the vernacular Sesotho language.

Thakaso said he was requesting the prosecutor to protect him and the security company.

“We have taken Mr Monaheng’s threats very seriously especially when he has such a serious case to answer,” Thakaso wrote.

“We humbly request your office to inform the magistrate about the abuse of his free bail and interefence.”

He said Monaheng should not be allowed to interfere with witnesses because he is one of the directors who are facing trial for allegedly defrauding PC FM.

“Our position as a company is that suspects should not interfere with witnesses,” Thakaso said in the letter.

“Mr Monaheng and his co-accused are occupying the very office which they are accused of defrauding.

“Madam, let your office be responsible, protect me and my company.

“Mr Monaheng is on free bail and should not be interfering with witnesses.”

Monaheng vehemently denied Thakaso’s allegations.

He told the Sunday Express yesterday that he “never threatened anyone at the station”.

“Upon arrival I only warned those security personnel that if they were hired on condition that they would be paid by PC FM they were deceived by their employer,” Monaheng said.

“I told them that it was good for them to leave the premises because PC FM would not pay for their services.”

“I then turned to him (Thakaso) and reminded him that our case was still in the courts of law,” Monaheng added.

“I never threatened to kill him or anybody.”

Monaheng said he was surprised by Thakaso’s decision to hire a new security company when PC FM had a contract with another company to do the same job.

“If he was acting innocently why did he have to wait until 6pm when everybody had knocked off from work to bring those security guards?” said Monaheng.

“He was aware that PC FM could not hire a security company when it (PC FM) had a valid contract with Security Lesotho.”

Meanwhile, PC FM bosses appeared in court on Thursday facing eight more charges of fraud.

Managing director Motlatsi Majara, station manager Khulo Qhobela, popular presenter Liteboho Nkuebe and four prominent personalities were initially facing seven charges of fraud when they appeared in court on August 13.

But on Thursday the charge sheet was amended to include eight more charges.

This means that they are now facing 15 charges.

The prosecution alleges that the accused fraudulently caused the company to pay huge monies buying its own shares for individuals, a practice prohibited in the Companies Act.

They are also accused of fraudulently registering, among other people, prominent lawyers as PC FM board members.

“The said accused are charged with clause 88 (1) of Company’s Act of 1967 in that upon or about 01/10/2008 and at or near PCBS (People’s Choice Broadcasting Studios) in the district of Maseru the said accused did each or all of them register Advocate Salemane Phafane, Advocate Thabo Mpaka, Ms Matsépo Ramakoae and Mr Rethabile Pholo as board members of PCBS without following the required procedure,” states the charge sheet.

The prosecution also says the top PC FM officials pinched the station’s funds to pay for Nkuebe’s medical expenses two years ago.

“The said accused are charged with fraud in that upon or about September 2007 the said accused did each or all of them with intent to steal with false pretence conceal from PCBS a payment done at Medi Clinic in Bloemfontein for the treatment and hospitalisation of Liteboho Nkuebe to the tune of undisclosed amount thereby inducing PC FM to the loss in the tune of the undisclosed amount,” the charge sheet states.

They have not yet been asked to plead to the charges.

During the remand proceedings on Thursday, the prosecutor, Motsamai, asked the court to remind the troubled PC FM bosses of their bail conditions.

Thakaso is the complainant in this case.

However, Magistrate Masupha Kao excused the officials from attending remand hearings until trial starts next year. He ordered them to stop interfering with witnesses.

“The accused are excused from attending remands. They are ordered not to interfere with police investigation or state witnesses,” Kao ordered.

“The case will be heard from the 17th to the 24th February 2010.”

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