MASERU — Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) boss, Joshua Setipa, has declined to chair the disciplinary hearing of principal secretary of the Ministry of Communication Nokhululeko Zaly. Setipa had initially agreed to chair the hearing following a June 12 request by government secretary Motlatsi Ramafole. In his letter of acceptance to Ramafole’s request the LNDC boss had said he wanted to move the hearing to June 21 (Friday) to prepare.
But a few days before the hearing Setipa informed the government secretary that he would not be able to chair the hearing.
Setipa’s decision has forced the government secretary to suspend the hearing until further notice. Setipa yesterday confirmed that he had declined to chair the disciplinary hearing. He said he had to attend an emergency meeting with clients in Taiwan.
Zaly confirmed that the hearing had been postponed but refused to give reasons. “I was informed that the hearing has been postponed until further notice but I cannot tell you more,” she said yesterday. Zaly is facing six charges. She is accused of unlawfully taking a car from Ultimate FM and allegedly merging the Lesotho News Agency and the department of information without approval. She is also alleged to have merged the department of science and the department of Information Technology.
She faces allegations that she unlawfully promoted Ratokelo Nkoka who was the Controller of Programmes in the ministry to the position of Director of Radio Lesotho in March. Zally is alleged to have employed her brother as a temporary electrician at the ministry. She allegedly claimed M10 000 from the government for a dinner she had hosted for some VIPs in Dubai and authorised a request by a ministry officer to attend a course at a school the ministry says is dubious.
Zaly was initially suspended on April 22 after she was accused of disobeying Communication Minister Tšeliso Mokhosi’s orders. She however came back to the office on May 23 after the High Court ordered that she be reinstated. Her return however renewed the bitter fight with minister Mokhosi. On June 12 Ramafole told Zaly that she was being suspended again despite the High Court order.
“Therefore, I hereby inform you that I have taken a decision to suspend you from office with immediate effect upon receipt of this letter until final determination of the disciplinary proceedings already instituted against you,” said Ramofele in his letter dated June 12 to Zaly. Fifteen days before that Ramafole had asked Zaly in a letter “to show cause” why she should not be suspended pending the finalisation of disciplinary proceedings against her.
Zaly had responded by telling the government secretary that his request “constitutes a contempt of court in respect of an order” in her case against the ministry. Zaly’s second suspension came on the day the ministry’s tender panel was set to discuss the Digital Migration Project contract. The M115 million tender won by Rohde & Scharz, a Germany company, seems to be the major source of the friction between Zaly and the minister.
Zaly angered the minister when she went ahead to meet Rohde & Scharz despite his advice to the contrary. The minister wanted the ministry to establish a Digital Migration Unit before the contract is awarded while Zaly felt the unit was not necessary. Since then the two have clashed over a number of issues including appointments and foreign trips.