FIVE suspended senior managers of the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) have asked the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to investigate the corruption allegations levelled against them by the authority’s workers’ union.
The five senior management officers are Chief Financial Officer Mangangole Tsikinyane, Chief Planning and Modernisation Officer Idia Penane, Chief Legal and Policy Officer and Acting Board Secretary Seth Macheli, Head of Litigation Moutloatsi Lichaba and Commissioner of Enforcement, Realeboha Mathaba.
They were suspended from work on 7 March 2018 after the authority’s workers’ union, presented the LRA board with allegations of financial and governance impropriety including the misappropriation and alleged pilfering of millions of LRA funds. The managers have furiously rejected the allegations and challenged their suspensions in the courts.
They have since decided to write to the DCEO requesting the anti-graft body to investigate the allegations levelled against them because they believe they are innocent and such an investigation would exonerate them. It is not clear why the managers have decided to involve the DCEO while at the same time pursuing court action.
They nonetheless state a DCEO investigation would restore public confidence in the LRA.
Advocate Mathaba separately wrote to the DCEO on the 25th of this month, stating among other things that, “specific allegations against me are to the effect that I am on the former LRA boss Thabo Letjama’s payroll and that I was offered a consultancy contract without following due processes”.
“It is further alleged that I had resigned from the employ of the LRA but that I was later re-employed due to my corrupt relationship with the then Commissioner General.
“In as much as the allegations…that have precipitated my suspension are spurious, I wish for these allegations to be investigated and proper action be taken in order to restore public confidence and trust in the LRA,” Adv Mathaba writes.
He further pledges his full cooperation including providing access to his personal information to facilitate the investigation.
His four suspended colleagues also penned a joint letter to the DCEO yesterday, where they “submit ourselves to your organisation for due investigation of the serious financial impropriety allegations made against us by the LRA Staff Union (LERASU) and for which it would appear the LRA Board has decided to suspend us from duty pending a forensic audit”.
“We consider the allegations serious enough to merit your attention as the statutory body established with the specific mandate to receive and investigate any complaints alleging corruption in any public body.”
Apart from clearing their names, the quartet further state that a DCEO probe is necessary to restore public confidence in the LRA “whose image must necessarily have been critically impaired as a result of those allegations”.
The five recently petitioned the High Court to order their reinstatement, claiming their suspensions were unlawful.
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