FORMER Public Works and Transport Minister Tšoeu Mokeretla says rampant corruption and financial mismanagement is the cause of the government’s financial problems.
Mr Mokeretla, who is also the Mashai constituency legislator under the Democratic Congress (DC) banner, said the four parties’ coalition government has shown nothing but recklessness and inexperience in its usage of the public purse.
The government has increasingly failed to meet its financial obligations when with many employees receiving their salaries late.
Government sponsored tertiary students had their February 2020 monthly stipends delayed by a week due to the government’s fiscal challenges.
The government has also in the past admitted that it was struggling to pay its suppliers whom it owes over M1 billion.
During the 2019/2020 financial year, the government is reported to have blown about M230 million on international trips, despite the allocated budget for international trips being just M80 million. And Mr Mokeretla says the government has been grossly careless with funds.
“My analysis is that the government is insolvent because of financial mismanagement and corruption,” Mr Mokeretla said adding that the rot set in immediately when the current regime took office.
He likened the government’s propensity to spend money to that of a careless miner who splashes his earnings with speed.
“This government is like a careless miner who recklessly spends his money until it runs out and only realises later that he wasted his money.
“So, I believe financial mismanagement is the key factor that has brought the country to where we are. For instance, consider the scandals that are happening around the public tenders where cabinet ministers have been implicated. That is pure corruption.
“You will also remember that I was the minister of Public Works in the past regime. There is a long-term concern that I have held about the cost of the Marakabei to Monontša road construction project, whose costing and design were completed before I left office.
“And the cost for the entire project was around M680 million but it was adjusted to M700 million to take into account future contingencies such as annual inflation.
“However, surprisingly, upon the arrival of the four parties’ coalition, the cost was inflated up to M900 million (42 percent).”
He said this gives the impression that someone is benefitting from the adjustments adding this was dangerous as it emptied the government’s coffers.
“This is one of the many examples of corrupt practices and financial mismanagement that are scattered across the different ministries which have brought us to where we are today.
“If a certain project is supposed to be implemented at a cost of M10 million but is instead implemented for M12 million, that amounts to corruption,” Mr Mokeretla said.