SA construction firm Basil Read has been thrust into a new corruption scandal in Lesotho, as that country’s lawmakers accuse one of its subsidiaries of being involved in a fraudulent R650m mining contract. This is another blow to Basil Read, which was placed in business rescue in June and is still hoping to finalise a rescue plan. It is also another instance of a multinational being linked to a corruption scandal in the tiny landlocked African country. This week, a trial began in the magistrate’s court in Maseru, and the charge sheet listed two accused: Basil Read (Pty) Ltd, based in Boksburg, SA; and Stuart Michael Brown, director and executive chairman of Liqhobong Mining Development Co (LMDC), whose address is given as Somerset West, SA. They are charged in connection with fraud allegedly concerning three companies — the first being one of Basil Read’s subsidiaries registered in Maseru. The second is B&E Lesotho, also known as Blasting and Excavating (B&E), a company deregistered...

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