Africa-Press – Lesotho. FORMER Home Affairs Minister Joang Molapo is in a nasty fight with tenants over rentals at a shopping complex in Maputsoe which he is managing. The main tenant, Ha Seotsanyana managed by Jaan Mahomad Suleman, says Molapo does not have authority to demand monthly rentals from him as he does not legally represent the company owning the property.
The property belongs to Litjotjela Mall (Pty) Ltd. The owners of the mall are however locked in a fight for its control. In April this year, the High Court issued an order giving Molapo power to manage the mall pending finalisation of the case.
The tenants have however refused to pay rentals to Molapo. Molapo then filed an urgent application in the Northern Region High Court seeking intervention.
The Deputy Sheriff Mpho Maphiri padlocked the shopping complex last week executing an order sought by Molapo in the property dispute. Molapo, who is a former deputy leader of the Basotho National Party (BNP), claims that the tenants owed him rentals for 10 years.
He has sought to terminate the sublease agreement entered between the company and the tenants. The High Court’s deputy sheriff closed down the shops on Monday last week amid resistance by the tenants.
The police told the tenants that they would be arrested for contempt of court if they continued to resist the order. Six businesses trading there were closed.
However, before the end of the day, Maphiri was sent back to open the pharmacy under condition that the owner was still paying directly to Molapo and did not owe any rentals.
Suleman told thepost that his company, Barakah (Pty) Ltd trading as Ha Seotsanyana, was in agreement with Molapo to use the property but “we are surprised to find a court order without notice”.
He said even in that order they inserted wrong company details. “I find it illegal that they are closing me down,” he said. He said Molapo’s company, Litjotjela Mall (Pty) Ltd, had entered into an agreement with him through lawyers that there was a new board of directors.
He said Molapo illegally kicked out the other shareholders from the company and they have a pending case in the High Court. “Molapo acts as a secretary and does not have any decision-making powers alone,” Suleman said.
He said Molapo’s actions should be directed by the board. He said Molapo does not want to discuss the agreement he had entered into with the former board of directors.
“He must honour the previous agreement on the sublease,” he said.
Suleman said what pains him is that they have made a lot of developments on the property under the previous agreement with Litjotjela, which Molapo is now ignoring.
“We have made developments worth over M4 million, constructed a garage and other buildings,” he said, adding that it is odd that Molapo wants him to pay rentals to use them.
“This cannot happen under my watch,” he said. Suleman said it is either they take all their investments away or Molapo has to compensate them for all the developments on the site.
Molapo told the court in an affidavit that he is the one who was put in charge of collecting rentals from all tenants. “They have failed to pay rentals to me without any justification and have refused to comply even after the demand had been made,” Molapo said.
He said the tenants owe him about M110 400. He said he is a director, shareholder and board secretary of Litjotjela Mall (Pty) Ltd. He said in June 2013 Litjotjela Mall and Ha Seotsanyane concluded a sublease agreement of 10 years.
He said it was agreed that Litjotjela was going to develop the site and was to collect all the rentals to be generated from the development site in order to recoup its expenses.
He said the 10 year period expired in May 2023. “Prior to the expiry of the sublease agreement we engaged with Litjotjela (Pty) Ltd on the possibility of extending the sublease agreement,” he said.
He said after a lengthy deliberation, it became evident that they could not reach an agreement on the terms of the extension of the sublease agreement.
“It was at that time that we instructed our legal representatives to write to Litjotjela on September 20, 2023 that if the parties cannot agree on the extension of the sublease agreement the sublease shall be given a period not less than a year to find a market price to sell (the) business,” he said.
He said Suleman was informed that he was going to vacate the premises in a period of a year from June 2023 and that he had to pay rentals for that period at the rate of the rental payment immediately before the expiry of the sublease agreement.
He said other cited parties were further informed that they should no longer pay rentals to Ha Seotsanyane (Pty) Ltd. He said to his surprise Suleman responded that Molapo does not have any authority to represent Litjotjela.
He said there is a court order issued on April 27, 2023 that he together with ’Mamphaphathi Katiso and Mpeuoa Mafike will remain in control and administration of Litjotjela Mall until the dispute has been resolved by the court.
He said Suleman is now benefiting from occupying the premises of Litjotjela without paying anything to him. He said he has a right to receive rentals from its premises from the tenants occupying the premises. He emphasised that his authority to represent Litjotjela in this matter cannot be questioned.