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Manyokole faces arrest


Ministry of Health Principal Secretary, Lefu Manyokole
Ministry of Health Principal Secretary, Lefu Manyokole

Tefo Tefo

POLICE intend to arrest former Health Ministry Principal Secretary (PS) Lefu Manyokole for allegedly violating procurement laws.

According to Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) spokesperson Superintendent Clifford Molefe, they intend to arrest Mr Manyokole for offences he allegedly committed when he was a PS during the Thomas Thabane-led previous government.

Mr Manyokole served as Health PS until the end of last year when he was dismissed by the current government along with other senior officials appointed by Dr Thabane’s regime.

Mr Manyokole fled the country earlier this year, claiming his life was in danger after his home was twice besieged, allegedly by state security agents.

The former PS told the Sunday Express’s sister paper, Lesotho Times, his ordeal started when he ignored a notice to vacate his government house following his dismissal. A group of 13 heavily-armed men, whom Mr Manyokole said had claimed to be police officers from the Special Operations Unit, allegedly stormed his house and demanded to see him but he was away at the time.

Mr Manyokole also claimed two unmarked bakkies full of state security officials had visited his parents’ home in Lekhaloaneng looking for him.

However, Superintendent Molefe on Friday told this paper Mr Manyokole fled because he knew police wanted to arrest him. The LMPS spokesperson admitted police had visited Mr Manyokole’s residence.

“The police have been at his place not because of what he alleged to the newspaper but because we want to arrest him,” said Superintendent Molefe.

“We want Manyokole to hand himself over to a police station because we have cases against him. We want to arrest him for violating provisions of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act of 1999 as amended in 2006 for the alleged unlawful award of tenders for cleaning services in hospitals when he was still a PS.”

He added: “We also want to arrest him in relation to his alleged violation of public procurement laws and we already have a directive from the Director of Public Prosecutions (King’s Counsel Leaba Thetsane) to charge him in this case.

“However, I cannot go into details about this case.”

Mr Manyokole has a pending case before the High Court in which he seeks reinstatement as Ultimate Radio station manager. The case will be heard on 22 November this year.

The case was supposed to be heard last Tuesday by High Court judge, Justice ‘Maseshophe Hlajoane, but had to be rescheduled due to what High Court Assistant Registrar Starford Sharite described as “unavoidable circumstances”.

Mr Manyokole approached the High Court on 1 July 2016 seeking an order that he be reinstated to his previous job as station manager at Ultimate Radio – a government-owned radio station under the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology.

Mr Manyokole argues he was transferred from the radio station to become PS by the previous coalition government on what is termed secondment and that he is entitled to his previous job.

If he is not reinstated, Mr Manyokole is seeking that he be paid remuneration commensurate with the position of station manager until he is 60-years old – the age at which government employees are expected to retire.

However, the government opposes his application.

The respondents include Public Service PS, Commissioner of Police, Public Service Commission, Ministry of Police and Public Safety PS, Communications Ministry’s PS and the Attorney-General.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Mr Manyokole said state security agencies were being used to “persecute” him for having been a part of Dr Thabane’s government.

“If the government is not satisfied with the work done by a senior official like a PS, they engage the anti-corruption directorate or auditor-general to institute investigations,” he said.

“However, when the government engages state security agencies like the police and army, it is tantamount to persecution.”

Mr Manyokole added: “I am not the only former PS who served under Dr Thabane who is now being harassed by the state. I recently heard that some charges have been levelled at (former Communications ministry PS Nonkululeko) Zaly.

“The point I am making is there is a concerted effort to harass senior officials and the government is not even following its own rules in probing us. That’s why I am saying it is persecution.”

Ms Zaly faces charges of fraud and flouting procurement procedures when she acquired information communication technology equipment for the ministry worth M16 million.


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