LTE, Sekhametsi square off
LTE Lesotho, a subsidiary of the controversial South African Company LTE consulting, is embroiled in a nasty battle with Sekhametsi Investment Consortium Ltd over office space at the Sekhametsi building, the former Agric Bank Building.
Sekhametsi has kicked LTE Lesotho out of its building claiming that it failed to pay rent for almost 16 months but the latter says it paid M100,000 in April this year.
Sekhametsi Chief Executive, Leboela Lebete, revealed to this publication that LTE Lesotho last paid its rentals in April 2021.
LTE consulting is owned by the controversial South African businessman, Thulani Majola, who is said to enjoy cordial relations with politicians in both Lesotho and South African governments.
Majola told this publication yesterday that it was not true LTE Lesotho last paid rent in April last year. He said his company was being persecuted.
But according to Lebete, LTE was notified several times about rentals it had to pay, but payment was not made until they (Sekhametsi) decided to lock the company out two months ago.
“LTE has not been paying rent since May last year and during. We notified them on several occasions to pay, but after realising that they were still not paying, the decision to close them out was taken,” he said.
Lebete, however, refused to disclose the amount LTE owes to Sekhametsi in rentals.
“Unfortunately we cannot disclose how much they owe because it is a confidential matter between us and our tenant,” Lebete said.
Majola was initially contacted for a comment on Wednesday and he denied the locked offices belonged to LTE.
He referred all questions to his attorney, Monaheng Rasekoai, who refused to respond saying he will not answer rental issues and referred this publication back to Majola.
This publication had earlier contacted the office admin, Lineo Nare, who charged that Sekhametsi was victimising LTE.
“News that the LTE offices are closed due to rentals is not true. What is true is that we only owed rent for two months,” Nare explained.
She added, “We paid rent for May, June and July and I have proof of payment.”
She, however, demanded that this publication send her an official letter requesting proof of payment.
Nare continued to blame Sekhametsi for ‘unfairly’ locking them out due to rumours making rounds in the media.
“What happened was that when Sekhametsi learned of the rumours that LTE was being liquidated, they locked us out of the offices without first asking if those rumours were true,” she said.
She said because Sekhametsi jumped to conclusions without consulting them, Thulane decided he does not want to work with them anymore.
“Thulane said he does not want to work with them anymore as he feels they are our enemy because instead of asking what was going on they just decided to lock us out,” she said.
Nare said she spoke to the CEO of Sekhametsi and furnished him with a judgment confirming that LTE was not being liquidated.
She said they are currently looking for office space in Maseru West saying they wanted to be out of Sekhametsi premises in August but Sekhametsi asked that they discuss the matter first.
In June this year, the media reported that after a questionable tender process, in June 2021 the ministry of transport awarded Majola’s LTE Consulting a contract to oversee the refurbishment of Moshoeshoe I airport.
But already on 18 March 2021, according to reports, a provisional liquidation application had been launched by a creditor of LTE Consulting in the Johannesburg High Court.
The application was reportedly granted on 9 June, a day before unsuccessful bidders were informed the contract had been awarded to LTE Consulting.
Nare dismissed these reports on Wednesday.
“There are so many stories on LTE and you should be careful. The National Security Services people were also following us regarding this tender and we told them that this tender was not awarded fraudulently.
“There are so many people who are after LTE and this tender and it’s just a 33 million tender. We are just doing consultancy work and not doing the construction,” she said.
She stressed that they wanted to know who was behind the reports.
She said: “Who wants this airport tender so much that they are willing to tarnish LTE’s name.”
She further explained that she had a meeting with Sekhametsi where she was told that they are always in the media and therefore, Sekhametsi cannot continue working with them.
“They said NSS, as well as journalists, frequent our offices and they feel like LTE is working with politicians or rather funding politicians as claimed in the media. I was shocked when I realised that they closed the offices. When I asked them they told me they need to use those offices,” Nare said.
Yesterday Majola reached out to this publication on a conference call with Nare and they stressed they did not owe rent.
Majola said LTE made a M100 000 payment to Sekhametsi in April.
“We paid Sekhametsi M100000 in April and we have proof of payment, I was making the payment. The reason why the landlord of LTE Lesotho decided to shut doors when we have paid 1000000 is not known to us, in any case, we are hardly in the office,” he said.
Majola was quick to explain that there was a difference between LTE Lesotho and LTE Consulting.
“LTE Lesotho is a subsidiary of LTE Consulting,” he said.
He said while it is widely claimed that LTE Consulting got a tender to refurbish Moshoeshoe I International airport, the truth is that his company is only redesigning the airport.