The High Court yesterday announced new dates for the corruption trial of former Ministry of Home Affairs Principal Secretary (PS) Retšelisitsoe Khetsi (46) and 43-year-old South African, Motsotuoa Makoa.
According to the schedule, which was prepared in Justice Semapo Peete’s chambers yesterday, the case is set for 3 to 5 March 2015.
Justice Peete’s Clerk Ramokhoro Makara told the Lesotho Times: “The case is set for 3, 4 and 5 March next year. This comes after the crown furnished the defence with witness statements as agreed earlier this month.”
The case, according to papers before the court, pertains to the controversial awarding of a M300 million contract to Israeli company Nikuv International Projects (NIP) in 2012 without an open tender, for the production of Lesotho passports and national identity documents.
The prosecution alleges between January and November 2012, Mr Khetsi, in his capacity as the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Chief Accounting Officer and PS, received around M5 million in bribes from Mr Makoa, who was then the NIKUV agent.
Mr Khetsi is also facing an alternative charge of corruption “in contravention of Section 21 (3) (b) of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act No 5 of 1999”.
He is alleged to have abused his position as PS to violate Procurement Regulation No 1 of 2007 “for purposes of obtaining and granting the contract to Nikuv”.
In the second alternative charge, Mr Makoa is alleged to have offered to give M5 million to Mr Khetsi “as an inducement or reward for unlawfully and irregularly facilitating the granting of the said contract to Nikuv International Projects”.
Both Mr Khetsi and Mr Makoa are out of custody after paying M10 000 bail each.