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Fiery details in Naledi murders



MASERU – IKHETHELENG Matabane, who was brutally killed last Friday, was central to the discovery of a M10 million fraud and corruption scandal at Naledi Funeral Planners (Naledi).

Matabane, Naledi’s chief financial officer, was shot dead at the Deck Restaurant on Friday afternoon.

Naledi’s finance manager ’Maserema ‘Makong who was in a meeting with Matabane at the restaurant was also killed.

Sources say the two were discussing the company’s financials and the M10 million hole in its books when they were brazenly murdered.

Eyewitnesses described how two male suspects, whose images are captured on CCTV, casually walked out of the restaurant after killing Matabane and ‘Makong.

“They walked away as if they had not committed gruesome murders. It was as if they were walking out after a meal,” said an eyewitness.

Since the murders, social media has been abuzz with speculation of the motive.

What you are about to read is not speculation but details supported by several interviews with shareholders, company documents, court papers and letters between warring shareholders.

Put together, the interviews and documents paint a picture of grand looting of the company’s resources that preceded the murder of Matabane and ‘Makong.

The documents reveal that Matabane, a seasoned chartered accountant, had used his position as a shareholder and board member of Naledi to uncover the alleged looting that had bled the hugely profitable business for several years.

Naledi’s chief executive, Thabiso Madiba, was implicated in all of Matabane’s findings on corruption and fraud. Matabane had not yet been appointed chief financial officer.

His last investigation, carried out seven months ago, resulted in damning findings that led to the abrupt suspension of Madiba in September last year.

thepost is not aware of any connection between the murder and the investigation nor have the police linked the two in an investigation they said is ongoing.

Matabane’s investigation implicated Madiba in the alleged siphoning of more than M10 million from the company through dodgy deals, dubious invoices and bogus companies allegedly owned by his relatives and friends.

The board’s suspension letter to Madiba, who is Naledi’s founding shareholder, cited fraud, corruption, dishonesty, money laundering, false entries into accounting books, concealment, conflict of interest, maladministration and mismanagement.

Rain Chartered Accountants (Rain), a South African firm, was hired to investigate Madiba’s alleged transgressions.

Rain’s forensic investigation allegedly relied heavily on Matabane’s initial findings.

Matabane had resigned as a board member, at the height of Rain’s investigation, to become the chief financial officer, a position that gave him further insight into the magnitude of the corruption and fraud he had initially discovered.

He was appointed in October 2022 after a spirited attempt by Madiba and Mohau Linake, the former chairman, to block his hiring.

Matabane allegedly spilled more beans about the scandal when he was interviewed by Rain’s investigators in December last year.

Madiba was interviewed last month, according to documents seen by thepost. ‘Makong was also interviewed and so were other company officials.

By their positions, Matabane and ‘Makong were central to the investigation and could have been key witnesses if the board brought disciplinary charges against Madiba or pursued a criminal case against him.

Rain completed the investigation two weeks ago and submitted the report which the board was scheduled to discuss at a special meeting on February 12. Matabane and ‘Makong were gunned down two days before that meeting.

This was not the first time Matabane’s investigation had fingered Madiba for fraud and corruption.

There are court papers that refer to Matabane’s two other investigations that discovered similar allegations against Madiba and Linake, the then chairman.

The allegations against the two are contained in an affidavit filed by Malefetsane Tlelima, the current chairman, in an urgent 2021 High Court case Madiba and Linake had filed to block Matabane from being appointed chief financial officer.

Madiba and Linake also wanted to block the appointment of Peter Matekane, a Naledi shareholder who is also employed by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offence (DCEO), as company secretary.

They argued that Tlelima had no authority to make the appointments.

They alleged that the hiring of Matabane and Matekane constituted a serious conflict of interest because they were shareholders.

They also protested that it was illegal and ethically wrong for Matekane to be Naledi’s company secretary and a DCEO officer at the same time.

The High Court granted them an interim interdict in December 2021 but subsequently ruled in Tlelima’s favour in October 2022 to pave way for the appointment of Matabane and Matekane a month later.

Madiba was suspended in September last year and Linake replaced Tlelima as chairman in November 2021.

Tlelima’s affidavit in that court case opened a can of worms, revealing Matabane’s role in unearthing the fraud, corruption and mismanagement under Madiba and Linake.

He told the court that between 2013 and 2021, under the two’s leadership, “the company experienced serious mismanagement of funds, noncompliance with the filling of audit books and audit reports”.

Tlelima’s affidavit said the board had previously appointed Matabane to scrutinise the company’s finances on two occasions.

In 2016, according to the affidavit, Matabane’s investigation exposed a cash loss of M2.8 million.


Two years later, Matabane discovered a M1.7 million loss due to “theft and general mismanagement and abuse of delegation by” Madiba.

Tlelima’s affidavit said it was around that time that the board decided to hire a financial management expert.

He also alleged that Linake, the then chairman, ignored the board’s instructions to discipline Madiba for the alleged theft and mismanagement.

It appears that Matabane’s various investigations were the main reason why Madiba and Linake launched the court case to block his appointment as chief financial officer.

Madiba’s efforts to frustrate Matabane’s hiring allegedly continued even after their case was dismissed.

Internal documents reveal how Madiba refused to give Matabane, Matekane and another official their appointment letters.

They show that Madiba requested to push the starting date of the new officials saying he wanted to make “proper arrangements before they came in”.

The board suspected Madiba was just stalling to frustrate the appointments.

Three weeks ago, Madiba accused the Naledi board of illegally appointing Rain to investigate him.

In a letter, through his lawyers, Madiba threatened to challenge the appointment.

He also accused the board of violating the Companies Act by hiring Matabane and Matekane despite facing charges. Madiba was referring to the case in which Matabane, Matekane and several others were charged with corruption, fraud and money laundering in connection with the Victoria Hotel case.

He also said Matekane, who is suspended as the DCEO’s head of the asset forfeiture unit, could not continue to be Naledi’s company secretary while he is still employed by the anti-corruption unit.

Madiba’s letter to Tlelima came a few days after he was interviewed by Rain’s investigators. He also queried if Tlelima had declared his interest as Naledi’s chairman to Econet Telecom Lesotho where he is the chief technical officer.

Madiba said Tlelima, as board chairman, was not justified to appoint Rain.

The January 27 letter was copied to Econet’s board chairman, DCEO and the Minister of Justice, Law and Constitutional Affairs.

In his response Tlelima fired back, accusing Madiba of misdirecting himself and being malicious.

He said Madiba’s strategy was to divert attention from “the investigations for the alleged siphoned (sic) millions of Maloti involving allegations of money laundering, corruption, fraud, theft and mal-administration…”

“Your client is facing serious criminalities of high magnitude, and it tells you why a decision to invoke the services of a forensic investigator was made,” Tlelima said.

He also refused to give Madiba some company documents he had demanded. The documents included minutes of the board meeting that appointed Rain.

On Wednesday, Tlelima refused to comment on the allegations against Madiba and the investigation.
Madiba was also reluctant to comment.

“I appreciate the media’s interest in the recent events surrounding my suspension and our business, Naledi Funeral Planners. However, as this matter is currently under investigation, I will not be making any comments,” Madiba said via a WhatsApp message.

“Rest assured, I am fully cooperating with the appointed authorities and have complete faith in the Board to navigate the business through this challenging period. Thank you for your understanding.”

Staff Reporter

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