Senators demand Mokitimi’s ouster

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

SENATE President ’Mamonaheng Mokitimi is in the eye of the storm after five senators launched a petition for her to be relieved of her duties and be investigated on charges of abuse of office and corruption.

She stands accused of fraud in that she allegedly prejudiced the senate by facilitating the payment of medical expenses for at least 11 people who were not senate employees before 2010.

Ms Mokitimi allegedly committed the offence while she was still the Senate AIDS Coordinator. Ms Mokitimi was subsequently elected vice president of the senate in 2012 and senate president in the aftermath of last year’s snap national elections.

According to the petition seen by the Lesotho Times, “there is an incessant anomaly in the list of parties afforded services by Khanya Medic Clinic and paid for by the senate”.

“It will be clear from the records available that at least more than 11 patients afforded service by the said medical clinic under the bill of the senate, at least more than one of them, was not and never aspired to be an employee of the senate.

“However, the records will further show that the then AIDS Coordinator, now president (of the senate Ms Mokitimi), was solely responsible for the presentation of a list of eligible HIV and AIDS patients from the senate to the clinic in question.

“The confidentiality of that process is common cause. It follows that the question as to how an ordinary citizen who was not in any manner connected to the civil service came to enjoy such benefit can only be answered by the officer who was then charged with coordinating provision of medical attention to HIV and AIDS infected employees of the senate.

“The perfidiousness of which it was conducted over the years (quite clearly taking advantage and abusing the privilege of confidentiality) impels us to conclude that there was a systematic symbiotic relationship between the AIDS Coordinator and the beneficiary which resulted in reckless cheating of the government fiscus.”

The petition also calls for the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to institute investigations into the said allegations.

Out of 22 chiefs who comprise the Senate, the petition bears the five names of chiefs Tumane Matela of Makhoakhoeng, Mojela Makhaola of Qacha’s Nek, Bereng Bereng of Rothe, Retšelisitsoe Mopeli of Butha-Buthe and Qeto Sekonyela of Malingoaneng.

The petitioners further allege that Ms Monaheng “in partnership with the de facto Clerk to the Senate and with a common purpose of achieving self-aggrandisement deliberately misappropriated the approved budget of the financial year 2018/19”.

The senators had hoped their petition would be discussed in the senate but this did not happen this week. And during Tuesday’s proceedings, Chief Mojela Makhaola demanded to know why the petition did not form part of the agenda of petitions which were yet to be deliberated on in the up-coming sessions and only to be dismissed by the Vice President of the House, Tšepo Monethi.

Mr Monethi held that the petition would be discussed in due course.

“There is no point of order in what you have raised my Chief. I would understand if your argument was that the petitions which had been received later than yours were already being dealt with,” Mr Monethi said.

Yesterday, Chief Makhaola attempted to raise the issue of the petition only to be shunned again.

He was backed by the Chief Mopeli who said that the petition should be dealt with and this time the Vice President said that there was no “urgency” with the said petition.

However, Chief Mopeli said that the petition had long been submitted but “the president had decided to sit on it”.

Contacted for comment Ms Mokitimi acknowledged receiving the petition last Thursday but refused to comment further as the matter has been forwarded to her deputy.

“I have received such petition bearing the senators’ names but I would rather not comment until the right time as the matter has been forwarded to my deputy for further perusal,” Ms Mokitimi said.

On the other hand, Chief Makhaola said his spirits were not dampened by the response he got from the vice-president.

“I shall not be dissuaded and shall make all efforts to see to it that the petition sees the light of day,” Chief Makhaola said.

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