PS’s reign of terror destabilizing embassies:  ambassador

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Ntsebeng Motsoeli

LESOTHO’S ambassador to Italy, Lineo Mabusela, has accused the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Mamonyane Bohloko, of instituting “a reign of terror” and spreading anarchy in Lesotho’s foreign missions by inciting junior embassy staff to disobey lawful orders from ambassadors and high commissioners.

Ms Mabusela, who has launched a High Court bid to stop Ms Bohloko from transferring her to India, said the latter was responsible for the anarchy in the Italian, Indian, London and other embassies through her divide and rule tactics of using secretaries to fight their superiors.

She said this when she appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to respond to allegations of insubordination which had been levelled against her by Ms Bohloko this week.

Two former senior officials at the embassy in Italy, ‘Mantheusi Matekane and Mofalali Malimabe appeared before the PAC alongside Ms Bohloko and accused Ms Mabusela of being a bully who was difficult to work with.

However, Ms Mabusela did not take the accusations lying down and instead accused Ms Bohloko of sowing divisions at the foreign missions by encouraging third secretaries to disrespect their superiors, the ambassadors.

“There is a lot of anarchy at the Italy mission. The Lesotho foreign mission has collapsed under this PS. There is a lot of insubordination from the junior officers who do not take orders from me because they were under the spell of Mme PS (Ms Bohloko). She is sowing divisions in the foreign missions by using secretaries against their superiors, the ambassadors. The relationship between me and the officers has broken down completely.

“This does not only happen in Italy. The same is happening in London and New Delhi and other missions. There is a reign of terror. She (Ms Bohloko) runs the mission through unwritten orders which she makes over the phone. She works contrary to the law and when some of us resist, she insults us,” Ms Mabusela said.

She also accused Ms Bohloko of calling her over the phone at odd hours in an intoxicated state.

“Mme PS (Ms Bohloko) entertains gossip and handles government work under the influence of alcohol. I remember instances where she called and she sounded intoxicated.”

She also accused Ms Bohloko of misrepresenting to the PAC that her official vehicle in Italy was being driven by her husband when it was involved in a road accident in June 2018.

She said the vehicle was being driven by her official chauffer when they were involved in the accident.

Earlier this year, Ms Bohloko told the PAC that contrary to the law, Ms Mabusela’s husband was driving the government vehicle when it was involved in the accident.

But this week, Ms Mabusela submitted documents to the PAC showing that her husband was not the driver when the accident occurred.

“It is not true that my husband was driving the car on the day of the accident. My official driver was the driver and I have police reports and all the paper work showing that my husband was not driving that car when it got involved in an accident. I did not come here to lie to the committee to protect my husband. To show that we did not take this lightly, we are suing (Ms Bohloko).”

At that point, PAC chairperson, Selibe Mochoboroane, said that Ms Mabusela’s submissions were plausible as Ms Bohloko, Ms Matekane and Ms Malimabe had failed to convince the committee otherwise. Mr Mochoboroane said the trio did not have any documents to counteract Ms Mabusela.

However, Ms Bohloko insisted that Ms Mabusela was an unruly subordinate who refused to take her orders and often insulted her in letters which she posted on social media.

“She (Ms Mabusela) is not working well with the junior staff at the embassy. I could see tension when I went on an official visit to her office one time. They were scared of her.”

Ms Bohloko said during her visit to the Italy mission she discovered financial discrepancies and that some of the unaccounted-for government funds had been deposited in Ms Mabusela’s personal bank account. She alleged that, contrary to law, Ms Mabusela was handling some procurement work which ought to be dealt with by the office of the third secretary.

“She did not have good relations with the third secretary (Ms Matekane) and so she took over her work.”

On their part, Ms Matekane and Ms Malimabe accused Ms Mabusela of refusing to sign off their claims on the expenses they incurred while executing their duties.

Ms Malimabe got so emotional that she even shed tears during the session.

Ms Mabusela admitted that she had not signed some of the duo’s claim forms because she had been informed that the claims were for personal expenses which had nothing to do with official work.

“I told them that they would not be paid until they proved beyond reasonable doubt that they did not use government funds for personal purposes. I learned that the claims were for inserting gold tooth fillings and skin bleaching and I could not have paid them,” Ms Mabusela said.

 

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