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Postal Services accountant up for M130k fraud

Mohalenyane Phakela

FORMER Lesotho Postal Services assistant accountant, Matsoha Motsoasele, was on Thursday released on a M2 500 bail by the Maseru Magistrate Court for allegedly defrauding his former employers of M131 000 in salary advances of ghost workers.

Mr Motsoasele is facing fraud, corruption and theft charges after he allegedly duplicated salary advance applications of six civil servants and claimed similar amounts totalling to M131 000 for ghost workers and eventually converted the money to his own use.

He appeared before Magistrate ‘Mamorojele Qoo on Thursday who released him on M2 500 bail and ordered him to reappear before the same court for remand on 20 March 2019 while the trial has been set for 20 and 21 May 2019.

“The accused person deliberately made to Lesotho Postal Services false representations, or concealed from them a fact which in the circumstances he had a duty to reveal that; Tumelo Mohale submitted a salary advance application of M30 000, Retšelisitsoe T?olo (M25 000), ‘Mahlalele Taole (M11 000), Letlatsa Futuoa (M7 000) Letlaka Banyane (M40 000) and Cecelia Kuleile an advance of M18 000,” part of the charge sheet reads.

“In between the months of July 2017 and March 2018, the accused intentionally abused the functions or position of his office in the performance in the discharge of his functions by duplicating existing salary advance applications… unlawfully took property belonging to Lesotho Postal Services with the intention of permanently depriving Lesotho Postal Services M131 000.

“The aforegoing representations were false, with the intention that Lesotho Postal Services should act upon the representations to its detriment in the amount of M131 000 and thereby caused it to act so.”

Mr Motsoasele is charged for contravening section 68 (1) read with section 109 of the Penal Code Act No. 6 of 2010 (fraud), section 57 (2) (a) read with section 109 of the Penal Code Act (theft) and section 13 (3) (b) read with section 20 of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Amendment Act of 2006 (corruption).

His case was filed by the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) which had investigated the matter. According to DCEO spokesperson, ‘Matlhokomelo Senoko, the discovery was made when the company could not account for the M131 000 funds that he allegedly embezzled.

“Every civil servant applies for a salary advance through the Lesotho Postal Services by submitting a filled salary advance application form with a stamp from the human resource department of his or her relevant ministry.

“After the people mentioned in the charge sheet submitted their application forms to Mr Motsoasele, he processed the applications and then submitted their forms to Ministry of Finance so that salary deductions could be conducted. However, he also made for himself a copy of the applications and then processed similar amounts into his bank account.

“In this way, the M131 000 did not reflect at the Ministry of Finance because Lesotho Postal Services does the actual payments therefore he was the only person with the duplicated records. It was through an audit that the discovery was made which led to the DCEO’s investigation and prosecution,” Ms Senoko said.

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