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Yan Xie speaks out

by Lesotho Times
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  • claims ministers demanding multi-million maloti bribes from him.

Pascalinah Kabi

CONTROVERSIAL Chinese businessman, Yan Xie, has broken his silence, accusing some unnamed cabinet ministers of demanding bribes as high as M3 million each to talk Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and the cabinet out of their alleged plans to cancel all his government tenders.

Mr Xie also said he was tired of being unfairly accused of funding politicians in exchange for lucrative government tenders without following proper procedures. He also claimed that Dr Majoro instructed him to stop financing struggling local businesses which would have been awarded government tenders.

He said Dr Majoro told him to stop financing local businesses because he had been widely attacked in the media over the Ministry of Home Affairs’ controversial park homes tenders.

Also known as John, Mr Xie stands accused of defrauding four companies awarded the tender to supply the Home Affairs ministry with park homes in 2019.

The four companies were paid a total of M26 million by the ministry on 22 March 2019 but the money was allegedly fraudulently transferred into Mr Xie’s accounts by the controversial businessman’s employees.

It is alleged that Mr Xie had access to the four companies’ accounts after he financed their tender bids.

It is alleged that he had funded them on the agreement that he would control 51 percent equity in each of the companies as well as gain access to their bank accounts to protect his investments.

The controversial businessman has been accused by outspoken Agriculture and Food Security Minister, Tefo Mapesela, and many others of “state capture” to corruptly advance his personal business interests.

He is said to have fled the country early last year for Australia to avoid possible prosecution for corruption in connection with various tenders he was awarded by previous governments especially the Thabane administration which lasted from June 2017 until 20 May 2020.

He however, denies fleeing and insists he will return to the country someday.

Yesterday he gave a telephonic interview to the Lesotho Times, saying he had stopped funding needy local companies on the orders of premier Majoro. Attempts to obtain comment from Dr Majoro were unsuccessful yesterday as his press attaché, Buta Moseme’s mobile phone rang unanswered.

However, Mr Xie insisted that the premier had ordered him not to finance local companies who were unable to complete their jobs after being awarded government tenders.

“He (Majoro) sent me a clear message; yes Ntate Majoro, current prime minister sent me a message saying John stop financing these people,” Mr Xie said, adding, “He sent me a very clear message and there are no companies that we are currently assisting”.

He said the premier gave the order after he was unfairly accused of defrauding the government on the park homes tender.

He admitted that he would charge any local company interest which he financed to compete for a tender or finish a project. In some instances, Mr Xie said he charged as much 50 percent of the value of the tender.

“We are no longer tendering but we just try to finance them (local companies). Financing is very difficult and we are in a very difficult situation. These people run away with our money all the time and tarnish our names. You can also do your own proper research to uncover the real story on the park homes because you attacked me over it.

“We see what is offered for tendering. Sometimes we charge the companies 25 percent, sometimes 50 percent to help them when they have bid for a project. Sometimes we charge 3 or 5 percent. But we have now stopped because you, media people, attack us like hell and we also got the instruction from the prime minister to stop.

“The prime minister told me to stop financing Basotho companies. We stopped because you people get the wrong information and attack me. Of course, politicians are scared and they say, ‘John, stop it. Don’t finance these people because when these people run away with your money, they will go to the media and we will lose elections.”

Mr Xie has previously boasted of funding virtually every politician and political parties in the previous governments including former prime ministers Thomas Thabane and Pakalitha Mosisili.

This week, he however denied funding them in their personal capacities, saying he often did so when they approached him on behalf of underprivileged Basotho.

He said he therefore did not understand why people were unfairly accusing him of funding politicians in exchange for lucrative government tenders.

“Many politicians have come to me asking for assistance but 99 percent of the money they were asking for was for sick people, funerals, school fees, even blankets and heaters for ordinary people.

“Whenever people in the villages suffer, they ask their members of parliament (MPs) for assistance. There is nothing wrong with that. People are attacking me but there is nothing wrong with assisting these people.”

He said it was only now during this current government that some ministers had badgered him with requests for money for their own personal use.

“Before this current government, I had never had this kind of experience of ministers coming to me to ask for money all the time. But they have come- not one or two but three ministers. And the money is not for the constituency, it is for themselves. They are asking for millions.

“In the past they were asking for M3000 and at times M50 000 because someone’s house had burnt down. They would even send me pictures asking that I buy the materials (to repair houses) because they didn’t want the money for themselves.

“Only in this government (are ministers asking for money for themselves) and I don’t know why. I sent a message about this to the prime minister six months ago and he has been aware of this for a very long time. I sent him a message again three months ago complaining about his ministers.

“You can ask the prime minister if he got the information or not.

“Yes, there are ministers in this current government asking me for money and these are huge sums. This has never happened before. There is somebody (minister) who came to us but I don’t want to mention names.  He talked to (Meraka Lesotho employee Bernard) Ntaote and other people. He said this government is after me and they want to cancel all my contracts.

“He said I must give him M3 million for him to talk to the prime minister and others (not to cancel the contracts). If you think I am lying you can confirm with the prime minister and other ministers. I sent that message to the prime minister a long time ago and I don’t understand why they have not stopped. I sent two messages, three and six months ago.

“The prime minister told me I must stop financing Basotho because when Basotho run away with my money, they will still go to the radio stations to tarnish my name. I don’t want to mention names but three different ministers have asked me for money,” Mr Xie said.

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