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Postbank M5 million theft case postponed

Aug. 29, 2019 3 min read

MASERU – The Pre-Trial Conference (PTC) for a case in which the Business Manager Applications of Post Bank Thapeli Tjabane is charged along with three others for allegedly stealing over M5 million belonging to the bank has been postponed to October.

The High Court had in June set August 26 as the date on which the PTC was to be held but due to unforeseeable circumstances, it did not proceed as per schedule.

Explaining why the PTC could not proceed, Advocate Shale Shale who represents some of the accused said although the defence was ready, they were informed that the presiding judge Justice Molefi Makara was on leave. Hence, Advocate Shale showed that the new date for the PTC was set.

The matter is prosecuted by Advocate Peter Matekane of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO).

Mr Tjabane is charged alongside Mathealira Lerotholi who was the bank’s Processes Manager, Mr Tjabane’s wife Tjantjello Moholoholo and Mr Lerotholi’s neighbour Nokhayalethu Soqaka with 1 438 counts of cyber-crime theft involving M5 319,620.00 which they are alleged to have stolen from the bank between February 2015 and March 2016.

The DCEO on December 11, 2017 filed an application before the court in which it wanted to confiscate property belonging to the accused on the basis that it had been purchased with the stolen monies.

But Advocate Shale argued that there was no link between the property belonging to the accused and the commission of the crime as some of that property had been acquired way back before the alleged crime was committed.
He also contended that the anti-craft body had also not put before court any evidence suggesting that the property it wanted to seize was the proceeds of the crime. He argued that there should be clear demonstration that the alleged crime was committed directly and or indirectly.

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He said the DCEO had not proved such element before court, adding that there had to be prima facie evidence that proved that the said property had been obtained through the commission of the crime. “Even the value of property in question is so small that it cannot equate the money claimed to have been stolen,” Advocate Shale further argued. For his part, Advocate Matekane showed that his office had provided the court with evidence linking the accused with crime committed, therefore submitting that there was solid case against the accused.

“The DCEO is mainly concerned with retrieving the money that accused stole and were seen through the CCTV footage while committing the crime at Moposo House and at Pioneer Mall,” he also said.
He said although both Mr Tjabane and Mr Lerotholi deleted the records after committing the crime, their actions were traceable and all information about the theft committed at the bank pointed to them.

The property the DCEO wants to confiscate include four vehicles - a Toyota Hilux, Polo Player, Ford Ranger and Renault Megan. But some of the accused contend that they acquired some of the vehicles between 2007 and 2015 through hire purchase. Another property is a plot, which one of the accused also claimed that was acquired through a loan from the bank.



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