DCEO boss booted out

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  • says he leaves post with shoulders sky high

Pascalinah Kabi

PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane has sent the director-general of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO,) Advocate Borotho Matsoso, on forced leave pending the expiry of his contract on 30 June 2019. The leave is with effect from tomorrow.

The four-months forced leave means that Advocate Matsoso’s tenure at the helm of the anti-corruption agency, which began in June 2013, is effectively over as his contract will not be renewed.

The premier did not give reasons for the move which has shocked Adv Matsoso.  He told the Lesotho Times this week that the decision was made after he wrote to the government expressing his desire to have his contract renewed.

“It (the forced leave) came as a shock to us at the DCEO as we were not expecting it,” Adv Matsoso said.

“My contract expires at the end of June and I followed the standard procedure where an employee writes to their employer indicating that their contract is expiring and they are available to continue serving (in the same capacity),” Adv Matsoso said.

He said the government replied to his letter on Tuesday and informed him that his contract would not be renewed.

He said he had been “shocked” to learn from the same letter that the government had decided to send him on forced leave for the four months leading up to the expiry of his contract.

Efforts to obtain an explanation for the sudden decision had so far hit a brickwall as he had not been furnished with any reasons.

“Since they are not taking anything away from me, I am taking my leave and I am handing over to one of the officials who has been appointed to take over in an acting capacity and that is it. This is what has happened. At the end of the day the power (to send an employee on leave) lies with the employer who has his own reasons for such a decision.

“Under normal circumstances we would be told the rationale behind this decision and the issue of leave with immediate effect leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth.”

Adv Matsoso said he was not aware of any fallout between him and Dr Thabane’s government which could have precipitated the decision to get rid of him especially as the leave days he had accrued were far less than the four months that the government gave him ahead of the expiry of his contract.

He said that his working relationship with the government had been “excellent despite the fact that the DCEO’s investigative work made its members an endangered species”.

“I have never had any fallout with them (the government). There was no animosity as far as I know hence this (forced leave) came as a shock to me.

“We stuck to our principles and there would be instances where we were not aware that we were stepping on some people’s toes. In some cases, we would knowingly step on people’s toes because that’s what we had to do. It’s the nature of the work and we just had to do it,” he said.

He added that he would quietly depart the scene without a fight because the decision to elbow him out did not have any negative consequences for him.

Adv Matsoso said he was leaving a proud man because the DCEO had made huge strides in its fight against corruption during his tenure.

“I am very much satisfied with the process that we have made. I am satisfied with the cooperation and support that I got from the authorities. That is why it came as a shock when I received the news (about the forced leave) because the cooperation and everything else has been excellent.

“We made a lot of progress and this year alone we have recorded the highest number of cases that have been set down for prosecution in the courts of law when compared to any other year. This shows progress and we were beginning to show that we can bite without fear or favour.

“I would advise my successor to stick to principles (of achieving justice) and do what they are supposed to do without fear or favour. But they must know that the adherence to those same principles will come back to bite them. If you fight corruption, corruption fights back, so you should be ready for that. But you must never, ever surrender but look ahead and fight throughout. My successor must always know that there is no fight without wounds. They will have scars but they must stick to principles,” Adv Matsoso said.

 

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