Ntsebeng Motsoeli | Bereng Mpaki
PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro has ordered cabinet ministers to speedily finish up pending multi-million maloti projects and report back to him immediately.
The ministers must also take disciplinary measures against public servants involved in these costly mishaps because the projects are costing the government millions of maloti without any benefits being accrued of the taxpayers. Dr Majoro said this while addressing journalists in Maseru yesterday.
His sentiments come after the completion of a project site inspection tour by Development Planning minister, Selibe Mochoboroane across the country. The minister visited 20 projects in eight districts.
Mr Mochoboroane visited the Rapokolana High Altitude Training Centre in the Maseru highlands, Belo Industrial Estate in Butha-Buthe, Ha-Tikoe Phase III, Mafeteng Correctional Service among others.
Dr Majoro said several projects were yet to be completed even when the contractors had long been paid for the work.
“Some of the contractors have vanished into thin air,” Dr Majoro said.
“Legal action will be taken against public officers who processed those payments. I order the relevant ministers to go and investigates and report back immediately.”
Dr Majoro said the lack of monitoring and evaluation on the projects has led to government officers processing payments without even verifying the existence of such projects on the ground.
“They (government workers who processed the payments) should explain why some projects were paid off but were never implemented. Monitoring and evaluation teams have paid off projects without even visiting the sites. This enabled the contractors slip though the fingers.”
He said other projects such as the Mpiti to Sehlabathebe (Qacha’s Nek) and the Marakabei to Monontša (Butha-Buthe) roads’ construction projects were taking longer than was initially planned and costing the government unnecessarily.
“In the past, the Ministry of Development Planning has not followed up on the implementation of capital projects. In 2013, the government was accused of building non-existent schools and when we asked the Development Planning ministry how the contractors were paid without delivering the services, they said they relied on the Ministry of Education and Training reports as they did not think they would lie to them.
“On the other hand, the Ministry of Finance also relied on the information from the Ministry of Development Planning before processing the funds.
“So, when we came to power, we instructed the Planning minister to go out to inspect the performance of on-going government projects.”
Dr Majoro said one of the signs of a poorly performing project was going beyond its scheduled completion date. He said the site visit unearthed challenges of design flaws; which resulted in either white elephant projects or delayed completion.
He said there were also clear signs of corruption by public servants. He therefore gave the ministers up to three months to investigates and report to him.