DCEO probes Metsing
THE DIRECTORATE on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) is investigating the banking details of Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing amid allegations that suspicious deposits were made into his accounts three years ago.
The ongoing investigations were confirmed to the Lesotho Times yesterday by the DCEO’s spokesperson ‘Matlhokomelo Senoko.
“I can only confirm that there is an ongoing investigations into his bank details,” Ms Senoko said, adding, they started working on the issue immediately after the Court of Appeal ruled in their favour in the court case Mr Metsing had lodged seeking to stop the investigations.
“Under normal circumstances, I would have not said anything about this investigation, but now I have to confirm after someone talked about the issue over a local radio station on Friday last week.
“That particular person spoke about the letter we wrote to Mr Metsing and now that he has talked about it I can only confirm that there has been that letter to Mr Metsing. I cannot go into the contents of the letter because they confidential.
“I cannot even go to the extent of divulging the information on the date of the letter, save to say that the letter was written early this month,” she said.
Ms Senoko said she was surprised to learn that the individual only spoke about this month’s letter to Mr Metsing yet there had been an ongoing correspondence between the anti-corruption unit and the deputy prime minister on the issue after he lost the case in the apex court in November 2015.
“The investigations will determine whether he will be charged with any offence and that time will come when investigations are complete,” Ms Senoko said.
The investigations into Mr Metsing’s bank accounts came after allegations that there had been suspicious deposits into his bank accounts after the suspicious allocation of a road tender to a company known as Big Bravo Construction Company for the construction of roads in some parts of Maseru.
Big Bravo Construction is the company that was engaged for the upgrading of Matala Phase One and Matala to Ha Leqele Bus Stop roads in 2014.
The company is alleged to have won the tender on Mr Metsing’s influence and the company left road works incomplete about two months before their contract ended in 2015.
The company was awarded the M120 million tender to upgrade the roads in what competitors said could have been a fraudulent process.
The alleged dubious deposits into Mr Metsing’s bank accounts happened at a time when Mr Metsing was Local Government minister and deputy prime minister in the tripartite coalition government led by the All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane in 2014.
Mr Metsing had lodged a constitutional challenge against the DCEO for investigating his banking details alleging it was a violation of his right to privacy.
Mr Metsing, who is also the leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), wanted the court to declare acquisition of his banking details by the DCEO from two prominent banks, unconstitutional.
He complained about acquisition of his banking details from Standard Lesotho Bank and Nedbank without being consulted, a move which he said violated his constitutional rights.
He had alleged in the court papers that the investigations into his bank accounts was a ploy to tarnish his reputation by his co-partners in the then coalition government.
Three parties, namely; ABC, LCD and the Basotho National Party (BNP) had joined forces to form a coalition government after there was no outright winner during the 2012 elections.
The High Court dismissed his constitutional claim on 25 February 2015.
He appealed against the High Court decision but the Court of Appeal in November 2015 also rejected his claim.
According to Ms Senoko, it was the Court of Appeal’s decision that gave permission to the anti-corruption unit to resume its investigations against Mr Metsing.