Financial Intelligence Unit officers investigated for graft

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

FINANCIAL Intelligence Unit (FIU) director, Palesa Khabele and eight other officers of the national anti-corruption entity are being investigated by police for fraud, the Lesotho Times has learnt.

This follows suspicions that they could have concealed evidence of money obtained through fraudulent means being paid into their insurance accounts.

Other FIU officers who are being investigated by the police are Liteboho Mosoeunyane, Itumeleng Monyau Paul Mothae, ’Matau Mabitle, Tente Machite, Thikhoane Molapo, Jothane Phakisi and Mofokeng Ramakhala.

The investigations have however, been frustrated by the resistance by Ms Khabele who did not deliver the pay slips requested by the police.  The Lesotho Times saw copies of correspondences between Assistant Commissioner of Police Beleme Lebajoa and Ms Khabele after the former requested to be furnished with pay slips of the listed FIU officers from July 2016 to April 2017.

Ms Khabele responded to Assistant Commissioner Lebajoa’s on 26 August 2019 letter by merely stating that “We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 16 August 2019 and we are still attending to the matter”.

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Detective Sergeant Moorosi, the principal investigator of the alleged fraud, subsequently sought and obtained a court order compelling Ms Khabele to avail the documents to facilitate the investigation. The order was granted by Maseru Magistrate M Qobolo on 27 September 2019.

“Having heard Detective Sergeant Moorosi and read his affidavit the court ordered that FIU should release information relating to pay slips of the listed employees from July 2016 to April 2017.The record should be availed on or before 7 October2019,” the court order states.

But instead of immediately handing over the pay slips, Ms Khabele engaged a law firm to seek legal advice on how best to handle the situation.

“We have been served with a court order and seek your legal opinion on how to act. We regard the matter as urgent,” Ms Khabele states in her letter to her lawyers, Mei and Mei Attorneys.

Despite the FIU’s failure to provide the pay slips, Police spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said they police were seized with the matter.

“We have such a case on our hands and investigations are still on-going,” Supt Mopeli said.

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