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RSL employees nabbed for taking bribe

by Lesotho Times
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Moorosi Tsiane

TWO Revenue Services Lesotho (RSL) employees have appeared in court facing bribery charges after they were allegedly paid to avoid conducting a search on a  consignment belonging to a foreign businessman.

The two, Thabo Matsinyane (52) and Lebopa Monaheng (40),  allegedly took a M2400 bribe from the businessman, Takunda Chiradza, to avoid inspecting his consignment. They had gone to search his goods to determine if they had been properly brought into the country but ended up falling for the bribe.

They appeared before Magistrate Makopano Rantšo  last Friday, facing two charges of bribery in violation of their oath of office.

Mr Matsinyane works as “scanner driver analyst” while Ms Monaheng is an anti-smuggling officer. They are both stationed in Maseru.

Their duties include conducting searches of places and people to detect and deter smuggling  as well as examining imports to ensure they are properly declared. They are also tasked with detaining non-compliant goods in terms of the Customs and Excise Act to facilitate appropriate measures against defaulters.

Before their court appearance, the RSL had issued a statement saying two of its employees had been caught red handed accepting a bribe from an importer at Pitso Ground, Maseru, on 13 December 2023.

“The arrest followed a tip off that these officials, who work in the Anti-Smuggling Unit of the RSL were soliciting bribes from importers,” RSL statement said, adding its Anti-Corruption and Ethics Department, with the assistance of the police had undertaken an operation which led to their arrest.

“RSL is committed to fight against corruption in all its forms, especially within its own ranks. Clients/taxpayers are urged to report suspected cases of corruption/theft by RSL employees through the toll-free fraud hotline number – 80022008 or email, intelligence@rsl.org.ls,” the statement read.

The charge sheet against the two partly reads: “When Accused 1 and 2 accepted the bribe…. they knew that the bribe was given in lieu of their inaction to conduct an inspection on the consignment of the said Takunda Chiradza to ensure compliance with the provisions of Customs and Excise Act and other revenue laws.”

Magistrate Rantso granted them  M1000 bail each and asked them not to interfere with witnesses, attend remands and stand trial to finality. They will return to court on 15 January 2024.

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