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Government probes procurement departments

Caswell Tlali

 MASERU — The government has appointed forensic auditors to investigate procurement divisions of all government departments and ministries.

The investigation started in Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s office where five senior officials including a principal secretary and his deputy were suspended last Monday for alleged tender rigging.

Finance Minister Timothy Thahane told the Sunday Express on Friday that the investigation has now been extended to other procurement divisions of government departments and ministries.

Thahane said the government has noticed that the bulk of rot in all departments is in procurement units where top officials are able to negotiate corrupt deals with suppliers.

Thahane said the forensic audit firm, which he declined to name, is going to comb through all departments in all ministries in an effort to stamp out corruption which he said was “going on unabated”. 

“It has now become common knowledge that things are not well in the procurement departments of all ministries hence the need to uproot the corrupt public servants as a matter of priority,” Thahane said.

“The fact that the prime minister and the government secretary saw it fit to suspend the principal secretary and four other officials is a clear indication that they were implicated in the rot involving the procurement of goods,” he said.

“There are several other ministries where senior government officials have shown signs of corruption and this investigation is targeting such officers.”

“I cannot mention particular ministries but some have been prioritised.”

Thahane said he could not reveal the contents of the forensic report that led to the suspension of the five senior officials in the prime minister’s office.

Kubutu Makhakhe, the principal secretary for administration in the prime minister’s office, was suspended together with his deputy Thato Masiloane on Monday.

Finance director ’Marapelang Raphuthing and two procurement officers, ‘Manthabeleng Shai and Lerato Moerane,  were also suspended.

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