Govt moves to curb rampant abuse of its vehicles
THE government has decried the “rampant misuse of government vehicles” by its officials.
In a bid to curb the practice, Government Secretary, Lerotholi Pheko, has directed the police to impound government vehicles on the roads after normal working hours and during weekends. Mr Pheko said disciplinary measures would be taken against government officials who used the vehicles outside the normal working hours without authorisation.
He said this in a 17 September 2020 savingram to all principal secretaries (PSs); Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli; the senior private secretary to King Letsie III Monehela Phosholi and other senior government officials.
Others who received Mr Pheko’s directive are Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s senior private secretary Tlali Mohapi; the Senate clerk Selete Molete; National Assembly clerk advocate Fine Maema; High Court registrar Advocate ‘Mathato Sekoai and all district administrators.
“Please be advised that it is the decision of the government that strict measures be taken to control the rampant misuse of government vehicles which has become a matter of public concern,” Mr Pheko said.
“Government vehicles are used after working hours, during weekends and public holidays for personal errands and at the expense of taxpayers.
“You are instructed to heed this government directive and ensure that all vehicles under your control are securely parked at the close of business for government activities (16:30hrs).”
He said the directive applies to all government ministries, departments and agencies.
“There will be a few occasions where the use of government vehicles may be required beyond normal working hours and rarely on weekends. Where the latter is the case, permission may be granted for the use of such vehicles.
“In this regard, PSs may issue travel permits which must indicate clearly the specific task to be undertaken, the date, time and the area where the vehicle could be reasonably expected to travel. Any government vehicle found to be non-compliant (without a permit or in violation thereof) shall be impounded.”
He ordered the police to impound government vehicles found on the roads in contravention of his directive. He also said disciplinary measures should also be taken against officials who contravened the order.
“The Lesotho Mounted Police Service is hereby instructed to impound all government vehicles which will be found travelling after working hours, on weekends and public holidays without proper authority from a principal secretary or district administrator.
“Disciplinary action must be instituted against officers from whom government vehicles will be impounded…
“All officers who are not entitled to use government transport beyond working hours must discontinue the practice forthwith. Only officers who are entitled to the uses of government vehicles for official and private use, in terms of their employment packages, should do so.
“The protection and proper utilisation of government assets and resources is your responsibility as a chief accounting officers…,” Mr Pheko said.
Mr Pheko subsequently told the Sunday Express that he had been forced to act due to the misuse of government vehicles “which had gotten out of control”.
“Everybody could see that the vehicles were being misused badly for personal purposes at the expense of taxpayers. We must therefore save the little resources we have to improve service delivery to the people,” said Mr Pheko.