MASERU — The principal secretary of the Ministry of Communication, Nokhululeko Zaly, has been suspended again barely three weeks after the High Court ordered that she be reinstated.
Zaly was initially suspended on April 22 after she was accused of disobeying Communications Minister Tšeliso Mokhosi’s orders.
She however came back to the office on May 23 after the High Court ordered that she be reinstated.
Her return however renewed her bitter fight with minister Mokhosi.
On Wednesday Government Secretary Motlatsi Ramafole told Zaly that she was being suspended again.
“Therefore, I hereby inform you that I have taken a decision to suspend you from office with immediate effect upon receipt of this letter until final determination of the disciplinary proceedings already instituted against you,” said Ramofele in his letter dated June 12 to Zaly.
On May 29 Ramofole had asked Zaly in a letter “to show cause” why she should not be suspended pending the finalisation of disciplinary proceedings against her.
Zaly had responded in a letter on May 30 telling Ramafole that his requests that she show cause why she should not be suspended “constitutes a contempt of court in respect of an order” in her case against the ministry.
“This is to pre-empt the final decision of the court in the said matter. I kindly with respect would not want to be associated with the said exercise,” Zaly said.
“You and I are currently before a court of law to determine the legality or otherwise of your very powers to suspend me from my office.
“Ramafole responded on June 12, telling Zaly that as far as he was aware “the challenge by you before the court is about the matter of the exercise of powers not whether I have powers”.
In all circumstances, I am not persuaded that I should not proceed with my intention as clearly set out in my letter of the 29th of May, 2013,” said Ramafole.
He then told Zaly that she was suspended with immediate effect pending the finalisation of disciplinary proceedings
On Friday Zaly confirmed that she had been suspended again but refused to give further details.
She had spent the better part of Friday in consultation with her lawyer Zwelakhe Mda at his offices in Mafeteng.
The Sunday Express understands that Ramafole has appointed Lesotho National Development Corporation boss, Joshua Setipa, to chair Zaly’s disciplinary hearing.
Setipa is said to have written to Ramafole accepting the appointment and moving the hearing to this Friday.
The hearing will be held at Ramafole’s boardroom at 9 am.
This paper has been reliably informed that Zaly will face six charges.
She is accused of unlawfully taking a car from Ultimate FM, a state radio station.
Zaly is alleged to have merged Lesotho News Agency and the department of information.
She is also alleged to have merged the department of science and the department of Information Technology.
She also faces allegations that she unlawfully promoted Ratokelo Nkoka who was the Controller of Programmes in the ministry to the position of Director of Radio Lesotho in March.
Other charges are that:
? She allegedly employed her brother as a temporary electrician at the ministry.
? She allegedly claimed M10 000 from the government for a dinner she had hosted for some VIPs in Dubai.
? She authorised a request by one of the officers to attend feature writing course at a school the ministry says is dubious.
Zaly’s suspension came on the day the ministry’s tender panel was set to discuss the Digital Migration Project contract.
The M115 million tender was won by Rohde & Scharz, a Germany company.
It is that tender that seems to have triggered the fight between Zaly and the minister.
Zaly was alleged to have gone ahead to meet with Rohde & Scharz representatives despite a warning from the minister to cancel the meeting.
The minister wanted the ministry to establish a Digital Migration Unit before the contract is awarded.
Zaly however felt that the unit was not necessary.
Since then the two have clashed over a number of issues including appointments and foreign trips.
This paper had been told that on June 12, the day Zaly received her suspension letter, Mokhosi removed her from the Universal Service Fund Committee.
She was replaced by Advocate Tšeliso Molise who is the ministry’s principal legal officer.