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High-ranking police officer sues Harvest FM and radio presenter

(MISA/IFEX) - On 23 March 2011, popular private radio station Harvest FM received a civil summons in which the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Thakane Theko, is claiming M1,000,000 (approx. US$145,000) for defamation with interest at a rate of 18.5% per annum a tempore morae (from the date of judgment).

Theko claims that on or around 20 October 2010, Harvest FM presenter Relebohile Moyeye wrongfully, unlawfully, and with intent to defame her, broadcast defamatory allegations on Harvest FM.

She claims the defendants, Moyeye and Harvest FM, made allegations that she was suspected of involvement in fraudulent activities. She claims Moyeye said her Strategic Management Support Services office, which Theko heads, is suspected of having been involved in corruption and fraudulent activities in the installation of a gate at a police headquarters.

Theko also claims Moyeye alleged that Theko was suspected of having corruptly awarded the M1,000,000 contract for installing the gate to her sister. She also claims that Moyeye and Harvest FM alleged that there was further suspicion that Theko was buying 9kg gas cylinders and freezer-suits at varying and surprisingly inflated prices.

She further claims that the station and its presenter made allegations that she was receiving bribes at a rate of M500 (US$72) per person in connection with the recruitment of police officers.

When MISA-Lesotho contacted station manager 'Malichaba Lekhoaba, she said the above were presented as allegations before Moyeye contacted Police Spokesperson Inspector Masupha Masupha to reply to the allegations.

Masupha confirmed to MISA-Lesotho that Moyeye interviewed him on the said allegations and he broadcast his interview the following day word for word.

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