PM’s office probe goes after 20 firms

MASERU – Twenty companies that have supplied goods and services to the office of the prime minister since 2008 are under investigation for alleged corruption, the Lesotho Times can reveal.

The director-general of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO), Leshele Thoahlane, wrote to government secretary Tlohang Sekhamane (left) on March 1, 2011, asking him to provide information relating to transactions between the companies and the government.

The Lesotho Times is in possession of the letter.

Thoahlane requested Sekhamane to furnish the DCEO with information on payment voucher requisitions and “all attachments relating to payments” made to the companies.

Thoahlane also wants Sekhamane to provide stores registers and records, including requisitions and inventory registers.

He also requested Sekhamane to give him cheque dispatch registers and transfers “and any other proof of payment available”.

The Lesotho Times also understands that the registrar of companies had been asked to allow the investigators from the DCEO to peruse files in her custody to reveal the identity of the individuals behind the companies.

The 20 companies that are being investigated are Akuna Mathata Services, Masokolara Cleaning Services, Mpho ea Makhokolo, Success Enterprises (Pty) Ltd, Sentrab Business Services, FML Suppliers, MD Enterprises, Nts’epeng Suppliers and MD Brokers.

Also being probed are Botle Business Furnitures, Florence Supplier, Synergy Consulting, Bokamoso Brokers, Makabe Business Suppliers, RMC Protective Clothing, Unity Office Equipment, The Clean Firm, MC Suppliers, Gorgeous Supplier and City Lights.

Some of these companies are not listed in the telephone directory book and it was therefore not possible to contact them for comment.

Only two of the listed companies – City Lights and Synergy Consulting – are listed in the directory.

An official from City Lights declined to comment when contacted last night.

An official who picked the phone at Synergy Consulting refused to comment saying the company’s director, who is the only one authorised to speak to the media, was out of the country.

The spokesman for the DCEO, Litelu Ramokhoro, said he was not in a position to comment because he was on leave.

However, Finance Minister Timothy Thahane confirmed in an interview with the Lesotho Times that investigations in the office of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili were ongoing.

The investigation has also been extended to the office of First Lady ’Mathato Mosisili.

A forensic investigation called by Mosisili last year unearthed serious abuse and manipulation of procurement regulations in his office.

Thahane said cabinet had sanctioned him to engage a forensic audit firm to investigate corruption in government departments.

“Of course we are working together with the DCEO and the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) in these investigations,” Thahane said.

He said the investigation had since been extended to his own ministry as well as the pensions department where he said corruption is said to be rampant.

The Ministry of Education is also under investigation, Thahane said.

“These investigations are a continuation of the ones that started in the prime minister’s office a few weeks ago,” he said.

“We will continue to work like this with the DCEO and the police.”

The investigation into the operations of the companies comes barely a month after the Lesotho Times reported that heads were set to roll in the prime minister’s office.

Five senior officers in the office of the prime minister have since been suspended for alleged corruption.

The principal secretary for administration in the PM’s Office, Kubutu Makhakhe and his deputy Thato Masiloane were suspended last month for alleged corruption.

The finance director in the PM’s Office, ’Marapelang Raphuthing, and two other procurement officers ’Manthabeleng Shai and Lerato Moerane were also suspended in the crackdown.

Thahane said the investigation was at present focusing on the procurement services.

“It has now become common knowledge that things are not well in the procurement services of all ministries hence the need to uproot the corrupt public servants as a matter of priority.

 “There are several other ministries where senior government officials show signs of corruption and this investigation is targeting such employees,” he said.

“I cannot mention such ministries but some have been prioritised. Obviously there are crimes assumed to have been committed.”

Comments are closed.