THE government secretary, Moahloli Mphaka, yesterday dared the Selibe Mochoboroane-chaired parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to approach the courts and challenge the deployment of third secretaries in foreign missions.
Mr Mphaka said the government had made a “sober” decision to engage the current crop of third secretaries in foreign missions and whoever had problems with that decision must challenge it in court.
Mr Mphaka said this in response to allegations that he unlawfully supplied the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations principal secretary, ‘Mamonyane Bohloko, with a list of political appointees to fill the positions of third secretary that must be occupied by people with accounting backgrounds only.
Ms Bohloko and other ministry officials recently told the PAC that the third secretaries’ positions in foreign missions were filled with unqualified political appointees, contrary to the law which stipulates that the Accountant General must recommend the people who must be deployed into those positions.
“These people fall under the Accountant General. Before we started politicising the deployment of people in foreign missions, the Accountant General deployed people in foreign missions…. Only an ignorant person would not see that we have become a laughing stock internationally,” Mr Mochoboroane said.
Foreign Affairs Human Resource Manager ‘Maneo Khali said they only employed people based on a list provided by government officials.
Ms Bohloko said getting lists of people to be employed was common practice even before she became the PS. She said she did not come up with the list herself but got it from the minister and the government secretary.
“In short, I get the list from the government… I get the list from the office of the government secretary,” Ms Bohloko said.
And this week Mr Mphaka dared both the PAC and Ms Bohloko to go to court and challenge the government’s decision to deploy the current crop of third secretaries in the foreign missions.
“My response is this, yes, it is the decision of this government to hire those people and whoever has problems with that must challenge this decision in court,” Mr Mphaka said.
He said the government would stick to its guns until the PAC and the PS have successfully challenged the deployment of third secretaries in foreign missions in court.
“If they win the case, the government will give in and those people will be fired but for that to happen, the PAC or the PS should go to court,” Mr Mphaka said.
He said all government decisions were communicated through the office of the government secretary, including the official list of civil servants deployed to foreign missions.