PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro has appointed Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) Commissioner General Thabo Khasipe as the Disaster Management Authority (DMA)’s new chief executive officer (CEO).
Mr Khasipe takes over from ‘Mabatlokoa Molai who was acting DMA CEO.
The appointment will enable Mr Khasipe to access funds allocated by the government for the fight against the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Mr Khasipe was appointed as CEO of the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) when it was established by the premier in June this year. However, he found it difficult to effectively discharge his mandate of fighting Covid-19 due to resistance from various government ministries and departments.
The principal secretary for the cabinet, Kabelo Lehora, had even questioned the legality of NACOSEC and its attempts to access funds for the Covid-19 response on the grounds that it was not properly constituted in the absence of the enabling legislation.
Mr Khasipe and his NACOSEC team will now be able to access Covid-19 funds after his appointment to the DMA, a body established by an act of parliament to coordinate the country’s response to any disasters including pandemics such Covid-19.
His appointment caused a stir on social media yesterday. This after a letter alleging that he was going to earn M428 016 per annum was leaked on various social media platforms yesterday. The letter was signed by Mr Lehora.
However, Mr Khasipe will not be paid for his new position. Instead, the LRA will continue paying his month salary and other benefits in terms of his contract as its commissioner general.
Government Secretary, Lerotholi Pheko, wrote to Mr Khasipe to inform him of his appointment on Monday.
“I have been directed by the Right Honourable the Prime Minister (Dr Majoro) to inform you that he has appointed you as the chief executive of the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) with immediate effect,” Mr Pheko states in the letter.
“This appointment is on secondment for 36 months to afford you full responsibilities, to set-up the new structure for the DMA, recruit personnel for the office, train staff and oversee the operations of the DMA.
“You will not be paid a salary and other benefits from the DMA as this appointment is a national crisis response to utilise financial resources and human capital that is already within reach from all sectors of government.
“Consequently, your board of directors and management team of the LRA will accordingly be informed about this appointment for them to do all the necessary processes to release you to perform this national call and ensure that the LRA also runs smoothly to continue performing its role to collect revenue and taxes for the government…
“The 36 months secondment maybe extended by another term which shall be agreed between yourself and the prime minister, depending on the performance of the DMA by then,” Mr Pheko said.
Mr Khasipe’s appointment had caused a stir yesterday with the leaking of a letter purporting to show that he would earn M428 016 per annum as DMA CEO.
The leaked letter states that, “you (Khasipe) will enter the Grade K scale at the rate of M428 016 per annum and your incremental rate will be determined under Regulations 88 (2) of the Public Service Regulations 2008”.
It has since emerged that although letter was leaked yesterday, it had already been withdrawn on Monday after Mr Khasipe raised concerns that its contents did not reflect “the true nature” of his appointment to the DMA.
Mr Lehora apologised to the nation, saying, “the office of the principal secretary apologises to the public for the confusion that may have been caused by this mishap. The public is further assured that the office of the principal secretary will undertake investigations to establish the truth of what transpired”.
Mr Khasipe yesterday issued a statement, saying the leak was deliberately done by someone with the aim of causing confusion among Basotho.
“In our own analysis, this was purposely done to confuse the people. This is what we call disinformation. Since the beginning of this project, we constantly find ourselves dealing with disinformation and misinformation. Today we woke up to a letter circulating on social media, causing disinformation among the nation. We have no doubt that whoever is distributing it on social media has clear intention to achieve a certain goal,” Mr Khasipe said yesterday.
He said he was given Mr Lehora’s letter on Monday but he immediately rejected it because it wrongly stated that he would be paid for being DMA CEO.
He said this was contrary to the agreement he would not be paid for his new role but continue to earn his salary from the LRA. Mr Khasipe said the letter was immediately withdrawn and he was later shocked to see it circulating on social media yesterday.
“I saw the letter, rejected it and it was immediately withdrawn by the government secretary (Mr Pheko) who returned it to the PS for cabinet (Lehora). The PS for cabinet was present in that meeting when this (leaked) letter was withdrawn. Explanations will be given on what transpired in the office of the PS cabinet for this letter to have been leaked to the social media.
“Yesterday the government secretary wrote the correct letter, capturing the understanding and direction that my appointment would take. The letter clearly states that I am not going to earn anything from the DMA, I will continue to earn a salary from LRA because I am on secondment,” Mr Khasipe said.
He said his secondment to the DMA was meant to enable him and his team to access funds for the Covid-19 fight which they had been unable to access due to concerns about the legality of NACOSEC.