MASERU — Months before he fled the country Abiel Monare had a nasty fallout with his immediate boss at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO).
Three weeks ago Monare allegedly told colleagues that his boss Thabiso Thibeli could be one of the people who wanted to eliminate him.
He is also alleged to have said there were also some senior government officials who wanted him dead because he was investigating their criminal activities.
Although their once cordial relationship had started crumbling last year sources told the Lesotho Times that the last straw came in February this year when Monare sought to resign from the DCEO.
His first letter of resignation was rejected allegedly because he had not specified the reasons for his decision to quit.
He then wrote another resignation letter in which he said he was leaving because he wanted to go back to school.
The DCEO accepted his resignation but offered to persuade the government to keep him on its payroll during his studies so that he could come back when he finished.
Monare refused the offer and started serving his 30-day notice on March 31.
Sources say Monare confided to some of his colleagues that he was leaving “because he was fed up with the culture of corruption in the DCEO”.
At a divisional meeting around the first week of April, Thibeli is said to have accused Monare of “selling him out” to the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA).
This was after the LRA had audited Thibeli’s offsales called Twisters in Ha Matala and ordered him to pay M364 000 tax for undeclared income.
The audit, the DCEO source said, had been launched after the LRA noticed that there had been a M2 million capital injection into Thibeli’s business.
Weeks before that confrontation Monare had been investigating a case of a Ministry of Finance official who had allegedly embezzled funds from the Old Age Pension Scheme.
The woman is alleged to have built a mansion and amassed a substantial property portfolio using her loot.
As the investigation was about to be concluded the woman who by now had been transferred from the Mohale’s Hoek post office to Maseru is alleged to have written a letter to the media claiming she had bribed Monare with M100 000.
Monare is said to have informed the police’s fraud squad about what he is said to have termed an attempt to soil his name and get him removed from the investigation.
A few days later Monare was interviewed by six police officers who were stationed at the treasury department and were investigating the woman.
He was grilled for close to five hours.
This paper understands that during that interview one of the police officers told Monare that Thibeli was not happy with his resignation.
The officer is understood to have told him that if he withdrew his resignation they would stop interrogating him over the bribe he was alleged to have received.
A DCEO officer who spoke to Monare after the interview told this paper that Monare told him he believed that Thibeli was using the allegations of the bribe to block his exit from the DCEO.
The official said Monare said he believed Thibeli did not want him to leave the DCEO because “he knew too much about him and other sensitive investigations”.
The official revealed that when Monare did not withdraw his resignation he started receiving death threats from one of the officers who interviewed him.
The name of that police officer has been withheld because the allegations against him could not be independently verified.
Last Wednesday Monare got a call from the same police officer ordering him to report to the treasury department.
When Monare refused to comply the officer is said to have said he was going to kill him.
Two weeks earlier the same officer had called Monare on numerous occasions telling him that he would soon be dead.
Monare told fellow investigators that he suspected that Thibeli could have been behind those threats but this paper could not independently verify this.
Yesterday Thibeli said he was aware that Monare has been claiming that he is one of the people who wanted him killed.
“I can tell you that those are lies. Why would I want the boy killed? I liked the boy, he was one of my most trusted investigators,” Thibeli said in an interview.
He confirmed that his business has been ordered to pay M364 000 in outstanding tax to the LRA but said he never accused Monare of spilling the beans on him.
He also rejected allegations that Monare had skipped the country because his life was under threat.
The real reason Monare fled the country, Thibeli said, was because “he has some issues he has to answer to the police”.
“Monare has not fled the country for security reasons; he knows what he is running away from,” Thibeli alleged.
He said he was aware that the police wanted to question Monare over allegations that he received M100 000 from a woman accused of looting the Old Age Pension scheme.
He added: “I trusted Monare. He is a clever man but he must stop mixing investigation work with politics”.
“I was disappointed when I started hearing things about Monare.”
Thibeli went on to say that instead of making allegations against innocent people Monare should go to the police and hear what they want from him.
Monare fled the country before he finished serving his notice with the anti-corruption unit.