Lesotho govt fights R850m Frazer Solar order

In a statement released late on Friday night, Lesotho Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro said his new Attorney General had instructed law firms in South Africa to apply for a stay of execution.

Picture: SAPS.

JOHANNESBURG – The Lesotho government on Friday said it had finally filed papers to stop court orders that give German company Frazer Solar the power to demand R850 million from the Kingdom.

Last month, Lesotho received notification that the High Court of South Africa had confirmed a default arbitral award in favour of Frazer Solar GmbH and ordered that the company could enforce attachment of Lesotho’s assets pursuant to that award.

In a statement released late on Friday night, Lesotho Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro said his new Attorney General had instructed law firms in South Africa to apply for a stay of execution.

In the application, the government disputes that there is a binding supply agreement with Frazer Solar GmbH that can be enforced and that Frazer Solar fully knows this.

A commission of inquiry will find out who is responsible for signing and why the country was caught napping through the court process, and a ministerial delegation was sent to South Africa to engage the republic.

It’s alleged that the minister in former Prime Minister Tom Thabane’s office, Ttemeki Tsolo, signed the agreement with Frazer Solar with no clearance from then minister of finance or the minister of energy.

Majoro was minister of finance at the time, and he said to his knowledge Lesotho never committed – while Tsolo claimed his signature was forged.

The agreement cites South Africa as the country whose courts have jurisdiction to enforce and arbitrate between the parties – but when Lesotho received the final order last month it was met with shock.

Frazer Solar has applied for enforcement of the arbitral award in South Africa, Mauritius, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

The assets in these countries include the water royalties from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project that are paid through the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority, accounts of the Lesotho electricity company accounts with Eskom, and Lesotho’s shareholding in the West Indian Ocean Undersea Cable Company headquartered in Mauritius.

Lesotho said it now had the Africa legal support facility of the African Development Bank on its side and had deployed a team of legal experts over the past week.

The Kingdom said law enforcement agencies were also investigating.

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