22 June 2021
MAJORO NOT CREDIBLE SAYING DIDN'T KNOW
On Monday 17 May 2021, lawyers acting for Frazer Solar GmbH (‘FSG’) began a worldwide enforcement action against assets held by the Kingdom of Lesotho. Enforcement followed a full and final arbitration ruling in South Africa against the Kingdom of Lesotho, which awarded €50 million in damages to FSG.
In a press conference in Maseru, Lesotho, on Wednesday 19 May 2021, Moeketsi Majoro, Prime Minister of Lesotho, addressed the legal action, claiming not to have been contacted by FSG.
Mr Majoro said:
“We were made aware first in South African newspapers, and then in international newspapers, of an arbitral award with a company called Frazer Solar. We were taken aback by this, but we are studying this arbitral award and will respond appropriately to it.
We are a bit surprised that it was an award in South Africa not a Court in Lesotho, but we are trying to understand why. The company indicated that it was lobbying institutions around the world to help attach Lesotho’s property so it can repay. I would have thought that if they really thought we owed them money, the first port of call would be to come to Lesotho and get us to pay. But as things be, we will try to understand what is going on.
Lesotho’s properties both in Lesotho and overseas are protected and we don’t think the action that they are proposing will succeed. In the next few weeks we will understand what is going on, we are mobilising our own resources to try to understand.”
On Thursday 20 May 2021, Keketso Sello, Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, responded to the legal action in an interview with the Lesotho Times. Mr Sello said:
“I was a minister at that time and I don’t remember the government of Lesotho entering into a contract of that sort with anyone. However, we are closely monitoring the developments and the government is currently applying its mind on how best to address this matter.
The nation must be rest assured that Lesotho is not going to have its assets seized by anyone. We will not allow that to happen. After all, our assets are protected from seizure by international protocols and no one will lay claim to such assets because of disputed contractual obligations.”
Evidence to the Contrary
It is not credible for Mr Majoro to claim surprise or lack of knowledge regarding this legal action. As Finance Minister (2017-2020), Mr Majoro was personally involved in FSG’s engagement with the Government of Lesotho and, meeting with and corresponding with company representatives on multiple occasions over the course of more than a year.
Mr Majoro’s knowledge of the legal action is evidenced in this table, which presents 25 instances since 2019 in which Mr Majoro and his office were informed in person, by email, or by fax of the existence of the dispute, the arbitration proceedings, the arbitration award, and the pending enforcement action.
Also attached to the document is a ‘Read Receipt’ from Mr Majoro’s government email account, sent on 19 April 2021.
Notes to Editors
In January 2020, an independent arbitrator ruled in Frazer Solar’s favour concerning a series of contractual breaches committed by the Kingdom of Lesotho, related to a renewable energy project developed by the company. Lesotho was ordered to pay Frazer Solar €50 million in damages but failed to do so.
Consequently, in May 2021, Frazer Solar’s lawyers commenced a worldwide enforcement action against assets held by the Kingdom.