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Travel agent facing fraud charge

Tefo Tefo
MASERU — Millennium Travel director Appukuttan Nair on Friday appeared before High Court judge Justice Gabriel Mofolo to answer charges of theft, bribery and fraud being leveled against his company.  
Nair, Millennium Travel and company secretary Mary Kamohi are being accused of defrauding the government and Nedbank of M380 000 between November 2002 and June 2003.
They are also facing charges of allegedly bribing some civil servants to win contracts to organise international trips for government officials.
The prosecution says in the process, Nair and his company paid out M989 428.49 in bribes to some public servants, who included army officers. He is denying the charges.
Said Prosecutor, Advocate Guido Penzhorn: “The accused bribed public servants by the names of Macheesa, Rasethuntša, Kholoane and Mahase and gave them kickbacks amounting to M989 428.49.”
Penzhorn also cited one incident in which the cost of an air ticket was M7 882, yet Millennium Travel had charged government M16000.
Advocate Penzhorn said the amount, as appeared on the invoice, was unjustifiable.
But Nair defended Millennium Travel, saying the company had to charge commission in order to survive.
“The total amount reflected on the invoices includes administrative charges, charges for the time spent to make a particular booking as well as charges for professional expertise,” Nair told the court.
The case was postponed to Tuesday when Nair is expected to continue giving evidence under cross examination.

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