DCEO warns govt on corruption
THE Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offence (DCEO) has called on government to aggressively tackle the scourge of corruption which has proved to be an obstacle to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) thus slowing down the country’s development.
Litelu Ramokhoro, the DCEO’s Director for Public Education and Corruption Prevention, said corruption which was most pronounced during periods of political instability and coalition governments, hampered efforts to achieve economic growth.
Mr Ramokhoro said this in a recent interview with the Sunday Express on the sidelines of a sensitisation workshop hosted by the DCEO for Ministry of Social Development staff in Maseru.
He revealed that Lesotho had scored 83 percent on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2016, which reflected that the scourge was deeply entrenched in the country.
Any score close to zero percent reflects that a country is generally free of corruption whereas a score which is close to 100 percent indicates high levels of corruption.
Mr Ramokhoro blamed the high corruption on political instability in the country which was manifested by frequent coalition governments.
“Given the country’s situation when it comes to the coalition politics in the past years, it’s no wonder the position of the country on the CPI,” Mr Ramokhoro said.
“This gives a bad reputation as other nations look at Lesotho as a country with the worst corruption,” he said, adding that corruption was most prevalent in government ministries.
He said there was no way investors would be attracted to a country with perceptions of endemic corruption.
Elections in Lesotho since 2012 have failed to produce an outright winner, resulting in the formation of the three successive coalition governments.
The first coalition government from 2012 to 2015 was headed by Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane. It was followed by the Pakalitha Mosisili-led seven parties’ coalition from 2015 to 2017.
Dr Thabane returned as the head of the latest coalition government in the aftermath of the 3 June, 2017 elections.
Mr Ramokhoro said one of the major reasons while they conducted sensitisation workshops was that there were instances where the culprits were not even aware that they were engaging in acts of corruption.
He said the country had to do its best to address issues of corruption in order to better its 2013 CPI of 55 percent.
This was Lesotho’s best score since the beginning of CPI assessments in 2005.
For her part, ‘Mantsenki Mphalane, the Principal Secretary in the Social Development Ministry said they had realised the importance of capacitating the staff on issues of corruption.
“We want the staff to be well informed about what corruption really is and the ways of avoiding it,” Ms Mphalane said, adding the workshop was all the more important because the ministry had new staff.
She further said that as a ministry, they handled large sums of money from government and development partners, which made it imperative for staff to be fully informed of the implications and consequences of abusing the funds.
“We work with people in need and it is our responsivity to deliver to them. It wouldn’t be fair if funds meant for them did not reach them on time,” she said.