By Caswell Tlali
MASERU — Agriculture Minister Ralechate ’Mokose says he is determined to fire Lesotho National Dairy Board (LNDB) boss, Selematsela Montši, because he has been in office for too long.
’Mokose told the Sunday Express yesterday that the LNDB chief executive officer had overstayed his welcome.
“His time has long passed because according to the law governing the LNDB he was supposed to be in office for three years. He has been in office for 20 years,” ’Mokose said.
“I will not pursue any criminal case against him because it would be like I have a personal fight against him.”
Montši has been accused of mismanaging the milk industry with a forensic audit report sanctioned by the agriculture ministry in 2009 blaming him for the problems in the dairy sector.
The Gobodo forensic investigation report that was released in February 2010 alleged massive corruption and maladministration at the LNDB.
’Mokose said instead of ousting Montši on grounds that he mishandled the milk industry as alleged by the audit report, he now bases his arguments on the fact that he overstayed in office.
The law establishing the LNDB says the board’s tenure of office is three years but Montši has been there for 20 years, ’Mokose said.
This is not the first time that ’Mokose has stepped up his bid to oust Montši.
Last month ’Mokose instructed the acting agriculture principal secretary, Liteboho Mofubetsoana, to fire Montši, five months after his first attempt failed on a technicality.
’Mokose told the Lesotho Times then that he directed the principal secretary to write the dismissal letter because as chairman of the LNDB he had powers to fire him.
“I too have legal powers to fire him but since his argument was that the powers to dismiss him were vested in the board chairman, I have directed the same chairman to expel him,” ’Mokose said.
“Whether the letter is signed by the principal secretary is not the big issue because the principal secretary takes orders from the minister,” he said.
“My powers to fire him are enshrined in the Lesotho National Dairy Act, which established the LNDB.”
The defiant Montši however said ’Mokose and Mofubetsoana have no powers over him.
“Neither minister nor principal secretary have any powers to dismiss me,” Montši said.
“There are legal ways in which I can be removed and they do not feature in any of those ways,” he said.
“The board is the only body that has any say in my appointment or dismissal from work.”
In March when ’Mokose also tried to fire Montši, the dairy board chief’s lawyer, Sekara Mafisa, then wrote to the minister saying he should withdraw his dismissal letter because he did not have powers to dismiss his client.
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