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Majoro denies minister’s “unfounded” corruption allegations against him

’Marafaele Mohloboli

PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro has denied Development Planning Minister Selibe Mochoboroane’s claims that he was a “brazenly corrupt” politician who was guilty of several infractions including the awarding of the government fleet tender to a local taxi organisation in 2019.

In a brief interview with the Sunday Express, Dr Majoro’s press attaché, Buta Moseme, said, “those are unfounded allegations”.

Mr Mochoboroane, who leads the Movement for Economic Change (MEC), made the claims last week in an interview with this publication. He was reacting to earlier statements by Dr Majoro who had accused him and his Lesotho Congress of Democracy (LCD) counterpart, Mothetjoa Metsing of attempting to blackmail the government into stopping their treason and murder trial.

Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane are set to stand trial alongside former army commander, Tlali Kamoli, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Lance Corporals Motloheloa Ntsane and Leutsoa Motsieloa.

Their trial will be presided over by Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane from 10 to 20 January 2022. Mr Mochoboroane has appeared in court alongside his other co-accused. However, Mr Metsing is yet to appear and his whereabouts are unknown. Justice Sakoane has even issued a warrant for his arrest amid rumours that he might have fled to neighbouring South Africa to avoid prosecution. His LCD party has since pulled out of the multi-sector reforms process in protest over the state’s decision to charge him and Mr Mochoboroane.

For over a year, Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane fought tooth and nail, including filing numerous, ultimately unsuccessful applications to stop the state from joining them to the charges alongside Lieutenant General Kamoli and others.  They had argued that an October 2018 SADC-brokered government-opposition agreement shielded them and other politicians from prosecution for any crimes at least until after the implementation of the reforms. However, that particular clause 10 of the agreement was struck down by the Constitutional Court in two separate judgements in 2018 and 2020, paving the way for the two politicians to be tried.

A fortnight ago, Dr Majoro made reference to the issue while addressing a public gathering in Mount Moorosi, Quthing. In his Quthing address, Dr Majoro accused Messrs Mochoboroane and Metsing of pulling out of the multi-sector reforms to arm-twist the state to stop their treason and murder trial.

Mr Mochoboroane reacted angrily to the Dr Majoro’s allegations by making sensational claims of his own, accusing the premier of brazen corruption in several instances including the awarding of the government fleet tender to a local taxi organisation in 2019.

“Majoro is not at all holy and he knows very well that he is corrupt,” a fuming Mr Mochoboroane said in last week’s no-holds-barred interview with the Sunday Express.

Ntate Majoro is corrupt and I have evidence in that regard. He has his own case of corruption that was presented to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP Hlalefang Motinyane) by the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) boss, Mahlomola Manyokole. This is in connection with the awarding of the government fleet tender. The tender was awarded while Majoro was still the minister of finance. He has therefore moved to have Manyokole fired to stop the case because he (Majoro) has power and influence.

“While I was chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), I even called him (Majoro) to testify and he refused to come until I heard his testimony in camera. I told him to his face that he was directly involved in corruptly awarding the fleet tender to the Maseru Star Taxi Association.

“I even told him that he had directed the Lesotho Post Bank manager to give loans to the taxi association’s members to enable them to buy taxis and then rent them out to the government. This is absolute corruption,” Mr Mochoboroane said.

The fire-spitting Mr Mochoboroane also alleged that Dr Majoro had connived with the police command to block an investigation into the possible murder of a Home Affairs official because a close friend of the premier was implicated in the killing of the official.

“At one point I was approached by a Mafeteng police officer who wanted me to help ensure an investigation of the killing of a Home Affairs officer, Khahliso Soro. I told the officer that the killing would not be probed because the suspect is a very close friend of the prime minister.

“I then advised that the cop to tell his bosses that once they have retired, some cops who are willing to serve this nation will investigate the matter. One can only pray that the day won’t come when these people are no longer in power because when their cases are investigated, they will turn around and cry foul, saying the investigations are politically-motivated. Right now, my advice to them is to investigate all cases while they are still in power so that justice is done.”

The 39-year-old Mr Soro, who was a senior procurement officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs, was found dead in September 2018 near his home in Ha- Pita, Maseru almost a week after he went missing.

His decomposing body was found in an unoccupied house near his own residence by children who had been playing nearby.

His mysterious death left tongues wagging as he died a few days after he promised the Public Accounts Committee that he would name and shame high-ranking officers in the Home Affairs ministry who had embezzled public funds.

Mr Mochoboroane claimed he had more dirt on the premier which he would reveal in due course if the latter continued provoking him.

“These are the only cases concerning him that I am mentioning for now. With time, I shall say more and choke him with dust,” Mr Mochoboroane said.

His allegations have since been dismissed as “unfounded” by Dr Majoro through his spokesperson, Moseme.

Lesotho Post Bank Managing Director Molefi Leqhaoe also said Mr Mochoboroane’s allegations that he had been pressured by Dr Majoro to give the taxi association loans to procure vehicles were “mere lies” meant to discredit the banking institution.

“I never met the prime minister regarding this matter of giving loans to the taxi association. These allegations are nothing but a blue lie and it’s unfortunate that institutions are always being dragged in whenever politicians fight among themselves,” Mr Leqhaoe told this publication.

On his part, Maseru Star Taxi Association also chairperson Mr Sekhonyana Mosenene also denied ever being corruptly awarded the fleet tender through Dr Majoro’s influence.

“Mochoboroane is a pathological liar who doesn’t even know what he is rambling on about. He is fishing and doesn’t even have any communication or emails regarding the tender.

“We don’t even know why they are dragging our name into their political fights.

They should stop making us a part of their beef because our issue was dealt with by the courts of law.

“It is again a lie that Majoro directed the bank to give us loans, more so because the bank didn’t have money,” Mr Mosenene said.

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