Cleric reprimanded for falsifying DNA report

 

. . . Court finds he fathered a child he denied, orders maintenance

STAFF REPORTER

MASERU – The Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA) clergyman accused of tampering with DNA test results in a bid to avoid paying maintenance for a child he fathered has been strongly reprimanded by the Mafeteng Magistrate Court – and ordered to support the child.

The presiding magistrate told the cleric, Limpho Makhoalinyane, that after her investigations, she found out that he is indeed the father to the child whose paternity he denied. She told and warned him that fiddling with and falsifying evidence is an offence that he should never repeat. As a result, Makhoalinyane has been ordered by the Mafeteng Magistrate Court to pay maintenance for his one-and-a-half-year-old daughter starting end of September.

From onset the court had ordered Makhoalinyane to pay M1 500 towards her daughter’s maintenance per month but after negotiations the amount was reduced to M500 per month to be deducted from his M2 000 monthly salary. Makhoalinyane is a minister at Tebellong LECSA in Qacha’s Nek and Public Eye can report that after he fathered a child with his then Mafeteng girlfriend, he denied responsibility.

He went on to falsify a DNA test report after he was hauled before court for child support by the girlfriend when the child was born. Public Eye has found out that in 2019 when Makhoalinyane’s then girlfriend found out that she was pregnant and told him, he denied having fathered the child which forced the girlfriend to approach the court for redress after she gave birth. After Makhoalinyane’s refusal to take responsibility, a paternity test was ordered on January 5.

The DNA test positively identified Makhoalinyane as the father. According to the child’s mother, DNA tests were done at Pathcare Laboratories in Maseru and the results were released on July 28. The DNA tests results which Public Eye has seen are positive that Makhoalinyane is the father of the child in question. The DNA tests were done and approved by Dr B Van Biijon.

However, on Monday August 8, when the duo presented their results before Mafeteng Magistrate Court as requested, Makhoalinyane and the child’s mother presented different versions of the DNA test results. The mother had in her possession an original copy of positive DNA test results while Makhoalinyane presented a copy of a negative DNA test results. Following presentation of the conflicting results, the parents were ordered to report back to court on August 16.

On the other hand, while they would not comment on a client’s result, Pathcare Laboratories stated that there is no way the couple could have received different results for the same test. They said both parents had the results sent to each of them via email, while they were also given original copies which they sign for during collection. Following the court decision, Makhoalinyane’s lawyer on the outcome of the case, Advocate Kautu Moeletsi confirmed that Makhoalinyane has been ordered to pay M500 per month towards supporting his child.

Public Eye had earlier spoken to the LECSA national moderator, Reverend Mojaki Kometsi, over Makhoalinyane’s appearance in court and the nature of claims against him but he said his office is not aware of the matter. He, however, stated that once the presbytery under which Makhoalinyane works has reported the issue, the church will conduct thorough investigations and will use its findings during an eventual disciplinary hearing.

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