I was never booted out

I READ the story about LEPSSA on Page 4 of your last week’s issue and I think that you gave a balanced view of what is pertaining within the Lesotho Public Service Staff Association (LEPSSA).

I am sorry about our beautiful car which was damaged beyond repair. The picture is horrifying and thank God no one died.

However, I quickly wish to point out that I was personally not well represented in the story that you published.

I think some members of the association that we spent four years building have now lost focus. They are busy fighting to destroy the good work that some of us have done over the years.

The paper grossly misrepresented my position in LEPSSA. I wish to correct the paper’s account which was grossly unfair to me.

I was never booted out of LEPSSA as the paper said. I am still the executive secretary of LEPSSA and no one can boot me out.

I am on LEPSSA’s payroll until I decide to move or I am collected to my forefathers.

You paper further said “that Ntsoaole was booted out following an audit which executive committee said indicated that the association’s books were not in order.”

This projection undermines my integrity as your paper is in possession of the audit which does not indicate any misappropriation of LEPSSA funds by me. 

The chronology of the malicious and tramped up charges manufactured by some members of the executive committee is as follows:

1. On 14th January 2009 Ntsoaole receives a letter of forced leave and audit signed by Vice President (not President)

2. On 21st January 2009 Ntsoaole writes a letter to Vice President asking them to allow him to be present when audit is done in order to assist the auditor with the help of LEPSSA Accountant. I don’t do LEPSSA books. I manage LEPSSA. Vice President did not reply to date.

3. On 19 February 2009 Ntsoaole receives a suspension letter informing him of the decision to take him for disciplinary hearing while the investigations regarding his embezzlement are continuing. The hearing was scheduled for 3rd and 4th of March 2009. When the hearing started the alleged audit had not started but the charges were already made and publicised across all the districts of Lesotho – and I was found guilty before judgment. I don’t know what informed the charges.

4. The audit was submitted to the executive committee on 20th March 2009 during the heat of a long and fact-lacking evidence of corruption against Ntsoaole. I am still awaiting judgment to date.

5. The audit says “we were materially limited by scope in verifying the figures presented in the financial statements due to unavailability of accounting documents and poor / or no proper classification of items of expenditure.

No explanations were given for our concerns in respect of the figures presented in the financial statements.” Remember that I was denied an opportunity to provide the auditors with information.

It is untrue that my suspension (not booting) was based on the findings of any audit – even the charges are baseless and malicious.

The charges were made some 30 days before the audit was completed and submitted. Therefore, your paper is misleading the public and members of LEPSSA by saying that “Ntsoaole was booted following an audit.”

This has tinted my image and integrity because it disregarded the facts.  I feel that your paper should apologise for making such a misinformed assertion which paints me as a criminal after building this association for four years.

I have seen how novices are misdirecting the association’s objectives over the past five months of my unwarranted suspension. 

When the man chairing the so-called hearing finally makes his opinion, the public will know what exactly transpired during the hearing which in my opinion has become a setback for our lovely association.

Nevertheless, I take this opportunity to encourage men and women in the interim committee who are taking steps to remedy the ills in our organisation.

These are just the growing pains of an organisation whose objective is to change the way the civil service is viewed in our country.

I encourage those men and women who see and cannot be deceived to relinquish their hard earned mouth-piece in the advent of unfavourable working conditions within the civil service of Lesotho.

We were hoping that LEPSSA would be represented at the ILO Conference in Geneva in June this year, but alas, we are marking time.

We will regroup and fight on. Lesotho belongs to all those who live in it and LEPSSA is not a political party! Civil servants must serve the nation.

They must be paid well and have access to the employer through their association. The nation has rights. The servants have rights and responsibilities. The employer has rights and responsibilities.

 Together, we can make these rights and responsibilities work for the betterment of the lives of our nation.

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