Water project’s former CEO in court

Primarashni Pillay
Business Day (Johannesburg)
November 30, 1999

Two individuals, including Masupha Sole, the former CEO of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, and representatives of three international companies, appeared before the chief magistrate of Maseru yesterday on charges of alleged bribery amounting to R22m.

Sole appeared on charges of taking R12m in bribes over a 10-year period ending last year.

The companies, which were represented in court yesterday, included Sogreah, Spie Batignolles and Coyne et Bellier, all of France; Sir Alexander Gibbs of England and Lahmeyer International of Germany; and Lesotho Highlands Project Contractors.

JM Du Plooy of Ficksburg in the Free State also appeared on charges of alleged bribery.

Representatives of the Highlands Water Venture would appear in court next Tuesday, a source said. An arrest warrant had been issued for James Griffiths, representative of Canadian company Acres International, who failed to appear in court yesterday.

Advocate Guido Penzhorn SC, who appeared for the state, applied for the postponement of the case until December 7.

Three SA companies suspected of being involved in alleged bribery had not yet been charged, the source said.

Representatives of the World Bank and European Union have allegedly assured Lesotho officials that they will help to finance what is expected to be a lengthy and costly court case.

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