MASERU — Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) Director-General, Leshele Thoahlane, says Energy Minister Timothy Thahane is not being investigated for human trafficking.
Thoahlane’s denial puts to bed strong rumours in Maseru and in various media that the anti-corruption body had instituted investigations against the former finance minister. Last month a local weekly said Thahane was being investigated for alleged involvement in human trafficking when he was finance minister. “I hereby wish to inform all those concerned and the public at large that I have considered these reports carefully and extensively and have found them to be all baseless and unfounded,” Thoahlane said in a statement on Tuesday.
“There is no case on human trafficking that the DCEO has instituted against Dr Thahane presently.” “In concluding this statement, I wish to appeal to all media fraternity to continue to do what the media does best before publishing a story with the potential to impact negatively on both individuals and institutions, which is to engaged all concerned parties before such story can be published,” Thoahlane said. “As is well known, this is how the principle of natural justice goes and with it well applied, media reporting is always fair and objective.” Thahane told the Sunday Express on Friday that he was happy the DCEO has “cleared the air”.
“I am very satisfied that the DCEO has clearly stated that it has not and is not investigating me for human trafficking,” Thahane said. “Human trafficking is too serious an offence for a minister to be involved in. “We are fighting human trafficking as a government”. “To allege that I have been involved in human trafficking is an insult of the highest order to my integrity and reputation”.
Thahane said before the story was published last year he had heard rumours that he was being investigated for human trafficking. “I could not do anything about those allegations. It is only when the issue escalates and is stated as fact in a newspaper that you begin to address it. People say things about me. They say things about other people too. I cannot go around addressing every rumour about me”.
“I however say that the story has tarnished my image both locally and internationally.” The paper also alleged that Thahane was being investigated for illegally benefiting from the block farming scheme which was established by the previous government to enhance food security in poor rural areas. The DCEO statement did not mention the block farming investigation. Thahane said he has already indicated that he would welcome an investigation into allegations that he looted the scheme which was meant to benefit poor villagers. “I welcome that investigation because my hands are clean. I took no cent from that scheme. I have never taken any cent from the government,” Thahane said.
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