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Senior finance ministry officials arrested

by Lesotho Times
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Keiso Mohloboli

The police yesterday arrested two senior Ministry of Finance officials for alleged corruption.
The Lesotho Times last night established one of the officials was the ministry’s Financial Controller, Tholoana Mapetla, while the other was only said to be a senior accountant in the ministry.
The officials were detained at Police Headquarters and it was not immediately clear when they would appear in court.

According to sources privy to the case, the two were implicated in the Civa Innovations saga, which resulted in the suspension of the Ministry of Finance Principal Secretary Mosito Khethisa, in April this year.
Khethisa has since appeared in the Maseru Magistrate’s Court charged with defrauding the government of over M6 million.

Charges against him revolve around a contract he allegedly awarded to Civa Innovations in 2010 for the establishment of a wool and mohair project in Maseru, in violation of the country’s procurement regulations.
Chief Magistrate ‘Matankiso Nthunya told the court that Khethisa, who was suspended while on a business trip to the United States, was being charged for allegedly contravening Section 68 (1) of the Penal Code No. 6 of 2010.

Reads the charge-sheet: “On or about 17 March 2014 and at or near the Ministry of Finance in the district of Maseru, the said accused, acting in consent with Civa Innovations Management (Pty) Limited, unlawfully, deliberately and with intent to defraud the government of Lesotho or the Ministry of Finance that the agreement entered into between the Ministry and Civa Innovations Management (Pty) Limited on 29th April 2010 in respect of a Wool and Mohair Development Project, complied with procurement regulations of 2007. This was done with the intention that the Ministry should act upon the said misrepresentation to the prejudice of the government to act thereon; more specifically by paying Civa Innovations Management (Pty) Limited M6, 452 000.”
Khethisa was, however, released on M10 000 bail.

Meanwhile, a source privy to the arrests yesterday told the Lesotho Times: “The police have kick-started investigations and when the enquiry is complete, the two officials will appear in court.”
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Police Spokesperson Lebona Mohloboli were fruitless as his phone rang unanswered.

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