PAC slams police, DCEO’s failure to investigate corruption
THE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this week lambasted the police and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offence (DCEO) for allegedly failing to follow up and prosecute alleged corruption cases against people in high offices.
PAC chairperson Selibe Mochoboroane and his committee accused the police and the DCEO of failing to investigate the corruption cases that were unearthed during the PAC sessions since 2018.
Mr Mochoboroane said the police and the DCEO’s reluctance to investigate the cases appeared to lend credence to allegations in some quarters that they feared top government officials and would not dare touch them even when there was evidence against them.
The PAC chairperson said this when police and DCEO representatives were summoned to appear before PAC to update the parliamentary committee on their progress in following up on corruption cases.
Among the cases brought to the police and DECO’s attention was the alleged embezzlement of M32 million from the Lerotholi Polytechnic and M690 million from the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) during the period under review. The cases were forwarded to the police and DCEO by PAC after it had scrutinised the Auditor General’s reports for the 2013/2014, 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 financial years.
The PAC also demanded an update from DCEO Director General, Mahlomola Manyokole, and Deputy Police Commissioner, Paseka Mokete, on the M5 million that was allegedly misappropriated by the ceremonies committee for His Majesty, King Letsie III’s 50th birthday in 2013. A Home Affairs ministry official, Khahliso Soro, was found dead in September 2018 after threatening to implicate senior ministry officials in the issue.
Mr Mochoboroane said the reluctance by the police and the DCEO fuelled widespread perception that the police and the DCEO feared investigating and prosecuting top government officials.
“There is a perception that you are afraid of senior official especially ministers,” Mr Mochoboroane said.
“You do not open or investigate criminal cases against them even when the evidence points straight at them. You have still not done much on many cases even though we (PAC) have provided with our findings on which you have made follow ups.
“It is common knowledge that your offices do not make investigations against cabinet ministers until they have vacated their offices. This sends a bad message about these offices which should hold people accountable for public funds. Criminal investigations must be launched against cabinet ministers. Even the prime minister can be investigated. The only person who cannot be prosecuted is the king,” Mr Mochoboroane said.
Another PAC member Likopo Mahase said: “You are making excuses because you do not want to comply with the resolutions of the parliament. This is annoying. You must comply and hold people accountable”.
“The parliament has spoken and we want all these cases investigated and prosecuted.”
Adv Manyokole defended the DCEO, saying they did not fear anyone.
“I can assure this committee that we are not scared of anyone and we are capable of making investigations against people who are implicated in corruption practices,” Adv Manyokole said.
He appealed to PAC to allow the DCEO to report back in 30 days’ time.
On his part, Deputy Police Commissioner Mokete said the police were not compromised and they did everything possible to investigate cases whenever there was evidence.