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MASERU — A former security manager at Lets’eng Diamond Mine has asked Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate allegations that Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki instigated his dismissal from the mine because he is an opposition party member.
Bofihla Makhalane was dismissed by Lets’eng Diamond Mine in 2007 for what the company called a “serious breach of security” but he now says Moleleki, whose ministry is responsible for the mining sector, had a hand in his firing because of his political affiliation.
In his letter dated September 7, Makhalane begs Mosisili to protect him from Moleleki.
The Lesotho Times is in possession of the letter in which Makhalane makes allegations against Moleleki.
“I have got information that Ntate Letona Monyane Moleleki is highly involved in influencing these injustices against me,” Makhalane said in the letter.
The senior private secretary to Mosisili, ’Mamohlomi Seitlheko, confirmed that Makhalane wrote to Mosisili requesting that he investigates Moleleki.
“I received letters from Mr Makhalane to the Honourable Prime Minister where he asked him to establish a commission of inquiry against the minister,” Seitlheko said.
“However, the letters have not reached the Prime Minister’s desk because he has spent three weeks outside the country and he did not have a chance to read them.”
Makhalane also copied the letter to senior state security officials like the director of National State Security, Commissioner of Police and the Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force.
He also copied it to the president of the Senate, Speaker of Parliament, Directorate of Corruption and Economic Offences as well as Moleleki himself.
He alleges that he was informed by Lets’eng Diamond Mine management that Moleleki ordered his dismissal “since he purported to an allegation that I am a member of some opposition parties or I belong to an opposition party”.
Makhalane does not name the political party.
“So, I am humbly requesting your protection against the Hon Minister Monyane Moleleki, sir,” he said.
“And I am convinced that you will be able to do that if you have got all the facts and you know the complete truth.”
To find the truth, Makhalane wrote, Mosisili should set up a commission of enquiry to investigate the matter.
He said the commission should deal with five issues.
“Is it true that Hon Minister Monyane Moleleki is interfering with the courts of law and the law enforcement agencies, so as to make sure that justice is not done as far as my case against Lets’eng Diamond Mine (Pty) Ltd management is concerned?”
He wants the commission to find out if there were any “sound reasons which could have dictated and warranted my dismissal at Lets’eng Diamond mine”.
Makhalane also wants the commission to investigate why the police allegedly refused to investigate cases he reported against the mine management.
“Did the law enforcement agencies act properly when they refused to take the reported cases to court or even refused to open the cases? Was this due to corruption or the influence from the Hon Minister Monyane Moleleki or both?”
Makhalane said the commission must also investigate why the resident magistrate at the Leribe magistrates’ court refused to give him funds to institute a private prosecution against the mine management for alleged “fraud, corruption and theft of diamonds”.
“Is his refusal due to corruption or the influence from Hon Minister Monyane Moleleki or both?”
Moleleki has however vehemently denied the allegations saying Makhalane is not saying the truth.
“Mr Makhalane is not speaking the truth,” Moleleki said.
“I could not order anybody at Lets’eng to dismiss him because I did not even know how he was employed there,” he said.
“I did not know if he was employed by the board, a person or a group of people and therefore I could not know who to order to expel him.”
Moleleki also dismissed Makhalane’s allegations that he was interfering with his case as baseless.
“There is not even a single police officer I talked with about Makhalane.
“I would be interested to hear if there is any police (officer) who can come forward and say I have talked about Makhalane with him. From the commissioner down to the trooper nobody can say I talked about Makhalane with him.”
Moleleki said he is far away from the courts and the police and he could not have influenced them.
Makhalane’s letter shows that this is not the first time he has made these allegations about Moleleki to Mosisili.
He also met the prime minister in October last year about the matter. He said he was writing to Mosisili because the “injustices are still prevailing in an unprecedented manner, and my rights are continuously being violated as a Mosotho in this democratic Lesotho”.
“I have got full confidence in you sir, and I am full of hope that you will indeed protect and assist me this time though it never happened after our October meeting last year.”
The Lesotho Times saw a private prosecution certificate issued by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Leaba Thetsane, giving Makhalane permission to charge the Lets’eng management on his own.
Makhalane also wrote to the Leribe resident magistrate on August 25 this year reminding him that six months had passed since he requested for the amount of fees he had to pay for the private prosecution.
“But to date I have not got any response to that effect,” reads the letter.
“May I also remind you that the Chief Executive Officer at Lets’eng Diamonds Mr Keith Whitelock had made a statement that he was going to mess me up and I will not get any assistance from our courts since our courts are corrupt and he would pay some bribes all way through”
“I don’t wish to see that unfortunate statement becoming a reality,” he said.
Whitelock said Makhalane is a liar.
“He is a professional litigant and a liar,” Whitelock said.
“I deny whatever he has told you about me and you have to know that he is a dubious and unreliable person. I dismiss all the allegations with the contempt they deserve.”
Makhalane was fired from Lets’eng on October 8, 2007.
He took the matter to the Director of Dispute Prevention and Resolution (DDPR) which ruled in his favour, ordered his reinstatement and compensation to the tune of M352 640 for his outstanding wages. Lets’eng however applied for a review at the Labour Court which ordered the restarting of the case at the DDPR under a new arbitrator.
The Labour Court’s grounds were that the DDPR overlooked the evidence that Makhalane permitted Seeley to go skiing.
Makhalane has however appealed to the Labour Appeal Court.