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MP battles M580 000 lawsuit



Rapelang Mosae


BASOTHO National Party (BNP) MP, ’Makhotso Matsumunyane, is facing a M580 000 lawsuit for allegedly defrauding a local catering company.

The lawsuit caps a troubled month for Matsumunyane who was booted out of the BNP last week for disobeying party orders.

Apart from the lawsuit she now has to fight to remain in parliament after it emerged that the BNP wants to take back its proportional representation seat.

Matsumunyane is being sued together with a Mosotho businessman Isaac Joseph, popularly known as Maleba-leba, from whom the company is demanding over a million maloti.

Papers filed in court on May 27 indicate that Batloung Ts’abi’s and Green House Joint venture won a tender in April 2013 to provide catering services to the government hospital in Mokhotlong.

The joint venture started providing services on May 1, 2013 and incurred heavy expenses for the purchase of all necessary goods in the form of foodstuffs and other culinary equipment as well as hiring of staff.

The court papers say the company continued to provide the services until the then Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Lefu Manyokole, allegedly directed the management to stop its services.

The company complied with the order around December 2013. The company lodged a claim to the Principal Secretary and he endorsed a payment.

The payment was however not forthcoming and the company had to instruct its lawyers to sue the ministry to recover the money owed, and a court order was granted in its favour.

An amount of M 1.7 million was paid in accordance with the court order to the bank accounts of the company’s legal representatives.

After the Ministry of Health paid, the joint-venture’s lawyers embarked on the process of transferring the money to the claimants but they were allegedly quickly approached by Joseph and Matsumunyane who said the money should be transferred to Joseph’s company, Green Bird Construction and Civil (Pty) Ltd, and to Matsumunyane’s.

The two allegedly claimed that the company owed them money.

The court papers indicate that at the time of making the said representations, “the two knew the statements were false”.

“The true facts were that, there was no contract at all of any nature whatsoever between the plaintiff (the joint-venture) and the duo save that (Matsumunyane) was a shareholder and director in the (joint-venture)’s business, and that she gets into arguments with her colleagues in the company due to her dishonesty,” the papers say.

The joint-venture’s lawyers transferred M1 098 000 to Joseph’s company while M580 000 was transferred to Matsumunyane.

thepost saw the proof of payments to Joseph’s and Matsumunyane companies.

Joseph allegedly used his company to get the payments while Matsumunyane used her standing as the joint-venture’s director to obtain the said payments, to the detriment of the joint-venture.

Matsumunyane told thepost she could not comment because the matter was being handled by her lawyers.

Joseph provided documents showing that the joint venture resolved to pay him because he was owed.

Joseph provided a document in which he entered into an agreement with the joint-venture to supply it “with stock to enable the joint venture to execute their mandate at Mokhotlong Hospital as appears in the main contract with the Ministry of Health”.

The parties agreed that the stock to be supplied “shall be to the tune of three million Maloti for the duration of the contract period…”

So, when later the joint venture did not pay him Joseph sued in the Commercial Court and he obtained two orders in which Justice Lisebo Chaka-Makhooane ordered that he should be paid M1.6 million in the first order and M1.1 million in the second one.

This was after the joint venture made a resolution to pay him where all board members, according to the extracts of the minutes, were present.

The company is represented by Advocate Thabo Lerotholi in the suit while Joseph and Matsumunyane had not entered their appearance to defend, at the time of going to print.

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