Youths take ex-minister to task over M600 000

MASERU — The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) youth committee for the Stadium Area constituency wants former minister Lebohang Nts’inyi      to account for a M600 000 donation she received on behalf of the committee.

It is alleged that Nts’inyi, who is also the party’s deputy secretary-general, did not remit the M603 148 which was donated to the committee for self-help projects by the German consulate in Lesotho.

Nts’inyi, the committee claims, facilitated the transaction and received the money from the consulate.

The committee claims it submitted the proposal to the consulate in August 2008 to fund a gardening and nursery project to empower unemployed youths in the Stadium Area constituency.

About M500 000 of that money was supposed to finance a sandstone mining project that the youths had planned in Teyateyaneng in Berea district.

The first batch of the money was released in September 2009, according to the committee.

But the youth committee alleges that Nts’inyi, who was tourism minister at that time, got the money but never forwarded it to the Stadium Area youth committee.

The damaging allegations against Nts’inyi were first revealed in a report tabled during the Stadium Area youth committee’s elective conference on December 14 last year.

This week the committee’s secretary-general Mangaliso Makakole, who tabled the report, repeated the allegations.

Makakole said when the committee came up with the idea to source donations from embassies in Lesotho Nts’inyi, who is a senior member of the constituency, encouraged them to approach the German consulate with the proposal.

“She said she wanted us to make a proposal to the German consulate as we stood a chance because she enjoyed healthy relations with the Germans,” Makakole alleges.

“She facilitated the whole process and true to her word, the money did indeed come. I will admit that we agreed with (the idea) because we knew she could be influential”.

Makakole said the agreement was that the money would be released in batches.

“First to come was the M103 148 to finance the self-sufficiency projects of a vegetable and tree nursery,” Makakole said.

“We had already approached the forestry ministry about selling them the tree sprouts and it seemed we were just about to realise our dream of alleviating poverty among our youths.”

He said when the M103 148 was released Nts’inyi called the committee to her office to discuss the modalities.

She also implored them to use the money wisely, Makakole said.

That meeting is alleged to have happened on October 6, 2009.

Makakole also alleged that although the money was supposed to be under the guardianship of the constituency youth committee’s treasurer “it remained with ‘M’e Nts’inyi”.

“By right the money should have been in the care of the constituency youth committee’s treasurer from the start.”

“I heard informally from the constituency committee’s chairman Motlatsi Molise that our M500 000 for the sandstone mining project had arrived in February 2010.”

He said by the time the last batch was released their relations with Nts’inyi had soured so “there was no way she was going to tell us about the money under the circumstances”.

“She was still a minister then and felt she owned the people who worked for her, especially those she had given jobs.

“It all began when she started issuing orders to do things that were not in the best interest of the LCD. She accused some of us of stabbing her in the back.”

There is no way that we were going to let ‘M’e Nts’inyi to violate us to further her personal agenda, which would also be to the detriment of the LCD, Makakole said.

Makakole did not elaborate on the exact nature of the orders that Nts’inyi issued.

“The youth have to know where their money is and what happened to it. We will not rest until we’re in the know,” Makakole said. 

When contacted for comment yesterday, Nts’inyi said the allegations were false.

She threatened to sue those making “damning allegations against me”.

“These kids have been on a smear campaign for a while now to spoil my name. I have nothing to say except that I will meet them in court for this,” Nts’inyi said.

“Let them say in court what they have been saying about me.”

Nts’inyi said the issue was discussed by the constituency committee and her personal aide Lineo Tlapane, who was handling the project, and gave a satisfactory explanation on how the money had been handled.

She said it was ironic that in that meeting the youth committee never made the damaging allegations that they are now making against her.

“Lineo (Tlapane) was called to explain, along with other people involved, what happened to the money and the challenges they faced with regard to the projects,” Nts’inyi said.

“Lineo can provide you with those details. The then treasurer of the youth committee, Mahali Mokhanya, also met and had a discussion with Lineo about the state of affairs.”

The former minister said she had no interest in responding to the allegations because that would help the youth committee achieve its agenda of smearing her.

“They can say what they want, I will not say anything,” Nts’inyi said.

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