. . . dispels rumours of interest-free loan to First Lady

Post Bank urges govt to curb social media

NEO SENOKO

MASERU - Lesotho Post Bank is calling on the government of Lesotho to implement laws regarding the regulation of social media in the country. This after the bank was accused of unlawfully awarding a M3 million loan to the First Lady Maesaiah Thabane on social media.

The unsubstantiated reports further show not only did Maesaiah receive a lucrative loan deal but the bank has also cleared her outstanding bills at hot el which were incurred by the Maesaiah Thabane Trust Fund. Despite the staggering reports, the bank through its managing director Molefi Leqhaoe has come forward to refute the allegations labelling them defamatory and purposely intended to damage the good reputation that the bank has been building over the years.

“These reports are not true at all; these are people who are keen to pursue their own interests and it is a sad situation because we cannot act on social media allegations. But going forward we are going to encourage government through the ministry of communications to seriously consider implementing laws that would regulate the social media,” Leqhaoe said. He added: “If action is not taken we will not see progress as a country but if laws are clear then we will be able to hold such misleading people accountable for their damaging reports. We have seen countries suffer as a result of defamatory social media reports.”

In 2017 the government of Lesotho said it was pondering introduction of a new cyber security law that would see it regulate the use of social media in the country. Part of the regulation would be to curb misinformation that threatens stability by those wanting to destabilise the country. However the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Lesotho stated their position that Facebook and Twitter are important platforms that have added value in access to information, which is vital for sustaining democracy and protecting human rights.

“A move to close down these platforms or any other social network whether temporarily or permanently is a regression in the development of our country, and it undermines democratic gains that Lesotho has attained to date. The closure will negatively affect freedom of expression, civil engagement and participation in the political and socio-economic advancement of Lesotho,” the statement reads.

Leqhaoe revealed that the bank has been growing for the past few years and some people are not happy and they will do everything in their capacity to damage its reputation. “Just like other banks in the country we are guided by the law and we have a code of conduct which we cannot breach at all. There is no way we can grant a loan to any of our customers without making any profit in return, that would mean I would have failed and might as well pack my bags and go home.”

He gave an example of other banks, which came into the Lesotho market and left because they could not abide by the laws. According to him the Agric Bank of Lesotho, Lesotho Building Finance as well as Lesotho Bank could not make it in the industry because they failed to comply. Confidentiality in the banking sector is very important in the banking sector so much that even if the allegations were true, nobody would know anything apart from the bank.

He added, as part of its conduct the bank has made a promise to conduct business ethically and within the laws that govern its operations. To show that the bank has done a great job for the past few years Leqhaoe revealed that between 2017 and 2018 alone, more than 1000 small business holders have benefited through loans amounting to more than M82 million. This year more than M40 million has already been disbursed in loans.

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