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Khaketla case moves to High Court

 

Tefo Tefo

THE Magistrate’s Court has committed a bribery case against former Finance Minister ‘Mamphono Khaketla to the High Court ahead of the 26 October 2017 hearing date.

Dr Khaketla together with businessman Thabo Napo are facing a charge of attempted bribery for allegedly soliciting a M4 million kickback from a joint venture company shortlisted for a multimillion-maloti fleet tender.

The duo first appeared before the Magistrate’s Court on 14 September 2017 where they were charged and released on bail after each paying M5 000 bail deposit.

However, on Thursday, the Magistrate’s Court committed their case to the High Court where they will appear on 26 October 2017.

Dr Khaketla and Mr Napo are accused of soliciting a M4 Million bribe from representatives of the Lebelonyane Fleet Solutions Joint Venture (JV) in exchange for favourable consideration by the then Finance minister in the tender at her house on 17 March 2016.
The duo was alternatively charged with contravening the provisions of Section 21 (1) of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act, 1999 as amended and read with Sections 2, 20, 31A and 34 in that Dr Khaketla agreed to be influenced by a gift or prospect of benefitting.

On the third and fourth alternative counts, they are charged with
contravening the provisions of Section 26 (1) and Sections 21 (3) (b) of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act of 1999 in allegedly abusing Dr Khaketla’s position as a government minister to solicit a bribe from JV.
Their bail conditions include reporting to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences every last Friday of the month, not to interfere with prosecution witnesses and standing their trial to finality.Message history

The former Pakalitha Mosisili-led government initially awarded Bidvest a six-month contract to run the government fleet from 1 October 2015 to 31 March 2016 after the expiry of the government’s fleet management contract with Avis.

They had promised to exclude Bidvest from any new tender to find a new fleet management firm to replace Avis.

However, the former government cancelled the tender process, preferring instead to enter a new long-term contract with Bidvest, which had not bid for the tender as earlier agreed in light of its six month contract.

Then Finance minister Dr ’Mamphono Khaketla had said while announcing the deal in June last year that the government would buy 600 vehicles and hire another 600 from ordinary Basotho, with Bidvest only managing the fleet.

She also said the government had decided to cancel the tender process because it did not have enough money to continue with the option of hiring vehicles.

However, JV which was shortlisted for the tender, took the government to court seeking an order to stop the government from engaging Bidvest.

The controversial fleet contract was one of the root causes of the split in the Dr Mosisili-led Democratic Congress (DC) in November 2016.

The Dr Mosisili-led previous administration decided to cancel the deal in March this year after admitting that the South African financial institution had milked government of millions of maloti and that the bills were spiralling to a point where it was difficult to pay them off.

While Finance Minister Tlohang Sekhamane, who had replaced Dr Khaketla, did not state the amounts owed and already paid to Bidvest, Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki has claimed that the previous government paid M600 million in the last financial year to Bidvest Bank Limited and followed this up with another M73 million in penalties after prematurely terminating the contract.

 

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