LESOTHO Revenue Authority (LRA) Acting Commissioner Realeboha Mathaba has called on the public to join the fight against corruption which has crippled service delivery in the country.
Mr Mathaba made the remarks during yesterday’s launch of the International Anti-Corruption Day celebrated globally on 9 December every year.
It was only the second time that Lesotho commemorated the event and yesterday’s ceremony was also attended by officials from the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO).
“There is no doubt that, when funds are illegally diverted from public coffers through acts of corruption and tax evasion, government will not be able to provide the services so desperately needed by the,” Mr Mathaba said.
“In fact, the misuse of public funds and corruption provide the moral justification for tax evasion and lead to low quality of public services,” he said, adding this could result in the public losing confidence in the institutions entrusted with fighting corruption in the country.
Mr Mathaba said while LRA was committed to the fight against the scourge, victory could only be achieved if the public and other stakeholders joined the war.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Keketso Monaheng called on the media to play its part through accurate and factual reporting that would assist rather than confuse investigations into corrupt activities.
“We are appealing to the media to make every effort to uphold the fundamental journalistic principles of truth, accuracy, objectivity and fairness in their reportage even as we encourage them to seek and report on corruption and other criminal acts,” ACP Monaheng said.
He said corruption impeded sustainable development and the building of effective institutions.
For his part, DCEO Director-General Borotho Matsoso said unless the public fully understood its adverse effects, corruption would be allowed to fester and scuttle development.
He said there would be ghastly consequences including the failure to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure food security as envisaged in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“In fact the SDGs make a deliberate and conscious recognition of the need to fight corruption as one of the key goals of society,” Mr Matsoso said.
He added that fighting corruption at all levels of government and society had been identified as one of the key priorities in terms of the second coalition government agreement.
Lesotho was ranked number 61 out of 168 countries on the 2015 Transparency International Corruption Index having previously reached an all-time high of number 92 in 2008 and a record low of number 55 in 2013.
Mr Matsoso said the rankings suggested Basotho were generally a corrupt nation.