CORRUPTION in the public procurement is expected to take centre stage at the commemoration of this year’s United Nations’ International Anti-corruption Day scheduled for 7 December 2018 in Maseru.
The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO), the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) and the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) are expected to lead preparations for the commemorations.
The three organisations yesterday affirmed their commitment to fighting corruption by launching preparatory activities leading to this year’s commemorations.
The commemoration in Lesotho, which is in its fourth year in 2018, will this time enjoy the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB) coming on board as one of the development partners.
According to the director general of DCEO, Advocate Borotho Matsoso, a lot of public funds that are allocated towards procurement in Africa are lost to corruption due to porous public procurement systems.
“It is believed that between 60 and 70 percent of budget allocated by Parliament every year goes towards procurement however, a lot of this money gets eroded by corruption hence depriving the citizen and the tax payer of the development projects initially meant to impact life positively,” Adv Matsoso said.
“Given the stories of rampant corruption in the mass media and even in terms of the actual cases that the law enforcement agencies have taken to the courts, it is clear that our public procurement process leave a lot to be desired.
“Failure to comply with public procurement frameworks is like failure to voluntarily comply with tax laws, since both result in poor service delivery to the poor and loss of revenue that is due to government for development.”
In showing the seriousness of the corruption scourge and other forms of illicit financial flows in Africa, Adv Matsoso cited Economic Commission for Africa which says: “It is believed that US$100 billion (M) annually, about four percent of Africa’s GDP, have been illegally earned, transferred, or used, much of it due to mis-invoicing.
“This retards Africa’s growth; weakens public institutions and rule of law; discourages the culture of paying taxes and value addition to natural resources; results in countries over relying on official development assistance.”
For his part, Deputy Commissioner of Police Paseka Mokete, said it is important for all sectors of the community to fight corruption as it cannot be defeated if it is entrusted to certain sections of the society only.
“Our country will not get anywhere in terms of development if we have rampant corruption. Let us therefore report all acts of corruption that we come across regardless who is committing them and their social status. It is our collective responsibility which is for our own collective good,” DCP Mokete said.
Acting Commissioner General of the LRA, Thabo Moleko, said corruption impedes revenue collection.
“We see corruption as a serious stumbling block in achieving our mandate of collecting revenue for the welfare of the citizens of Lesotho and its economic growth.
“We are however, mindful that generally people are compliant and willing to do the right thing. Ours is to make our processes easy, attractive, social and timely for taxpayers to comply and at same time deterring those exceptions who are not willing to comply by applying the law.
“Our interventions such as this campaign, aim to maximise voluntary compliance and cultivate a culture of general compliance among the members of the public,” Mr Moleko said.