…accuse ABC and BNP leadership of being corrupt
Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) Youth League leader Tšoanelo Ramakeoana yesterday accused Prime Minister Thomas Thabane of turning a blind eye to corruption when it involved his “favourites”.
Mr Ramakeoana, who made the allegation at an LCD Youth League press conference in Maseru, also took a swipe at Basotho National Party (BNP) leader Thesele ‘Maseribane, whom he accused of failing to account for M1.5 million from the Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) under-20 tournament Lesotho hosted last year.
Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC), the BNP and LCD led by Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, formed a coalition government in June 2012, but the alliance has since fallen apart due to a bitter power-struggle between the premier and his deputy.
Due to the fallout, Lesotho goes to an early election on 28 February 2015, but according to Mr Ramakeoana, the prime minister and Chief ‘Maseribane, as well as members of their respective parties, were not as “clean” as they claimed to be.
“The Prime Minister and his coalition government partner, Thesele ‘Maseribane who is also the sports minister, have been bragging that they are going to root-out corruption from Lesotho, and that they are not corrupt. They always want to act as if the LCD is the one with a corrupt leadership and supporters. But what is surprising is that the same ‘Maseribane was unable to account for M1.5 million from the Cosafa tournament we hosted last year.
“Government budgeted M19.5 million for the regional games, but ‘Maseribane was only able to account for M18 million. He can’t say what happened to the M1.5 million. As the Youth League of the LCD, we are shocked that the money went missing when it was in the custody of someone who always claims to be anti-corruption,” he said.
Mr Ramakeoane also accused BNP spokesperson, Machesetsa Mofomobe of being offered a tender to deliver gates from Hlotse to Mohale’s Hoek early this year without proper procurement procedures being followed.
“The BNP spokesperson was paid M195,000 for the delivery of gates from Hlotse to Mohale’s Hoek by the Ministry of Home Affairs, simply because he is a relative of party leader ‘Maseribane. There was no tender procedure followed; nothing, yet these are the people who claim that they are not corrupt,” Mr Ramakeoane said.
“The Prime Minister has been very silent about all these corrupt deals because they are being carried out by his favourites,” Mr Ramakeoane said.
Mr Ramakeoane also accused Dr Thabane himself of being corrupt.
“Reports have been all over the media that Durban Consul General, Lerato Tšosane is being investigated for stealing government money, and because she is his favourite, the prime minister is also very silent about that issue,” Mr Ramakeoane said.
Asked if he could substantiate any of his allegations, Mr Ramakeoane said he would provide documentary proof of the alleged corruption “in due course”.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Chief ‘Maseribane was clearly not amused about the accusations and said Mr Ramakeoane was talking “nonsense”.
“Ramakeoane is talking nonsense; he must provide proof that indeed, M1.5 million is missing. The fact of the matter is the Cosafa budget was assessed by an independent auditor selected by the ministry of finance, and not my ministry. And when the audit report was submitted to the finance ministry, I was never called in to explain and account for any missing money. I want to assure you and Basotho at large, that the Cosafa audit report is clean,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.
According to Chief ‘Maseribane, there were shortfalls because his ministry budgeted for M10million pledged by South African sports minister, Fikile Mbalula.
“Mr Mbalula pledged M10 million for the Cosafa Games and we have not yet received that money. I know there are some people claiming that the sports ministry is still owing them money, but that doesn’t mean our audit report is dirty because there is no money missing,” he said.
On the other hand, Mr Mofomobe was equally scathing of the LCD youth leader.
“I am not a thief, so I should not be accused of stealing money from the ministry of home affairs. This man must prove his case, and take me to the police and then the courts of law. If ever I committed a crime, I would be ready to get arrested but what I can assure you is that I’m proudly clean and will definitely continue fighting corruption,” Mr Mofomobe said.
“I’m not as corrupt as the LCD leadership and have not taken advantage of the army to avoid arrest, either. This is the plain truth that the LCD should learn to live with because it is only their leadership that has been charged with corruption in the courts of law. Nobody from the BNP has been charged with corruption since we became part of the coalition government in June 2012.”