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MPs reject motion to disclose source of donations

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

PARLIAMENT on Friday dismissed a motion to force politicians to reveal the identities of the funders of cash and goods they donate during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

The motion was tabled by the Democratic Party of Lesotho (DPL’s) proportional representation legislator, Limpho Tau, on Friday. Mr Tau had asked the government to compel legislators and other politicians to disclose the sources of all their donations to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO).

“This honourable house resolves to urge the government to promulgate regulations that will oblige all members of parliament and other politically exposed persons to disclose and clear with the DCEO the source and origins of funds used to purchase food packages and other aid they donate to the public,” Mr Tau said in his motion.

He said donations should not be used to sway people to vote for politicians who offer them aid thereby putting the government in danger of being captured by the donors.

“Voters should not be under anyone’s spell when they vote. Politicians and other politically active people should show an unbiased interaction with the public. During this Covid-19 crisis where people have become poorer, we have witnessed what could be noble gestures by MPs and other politically active persons making food donations to the public.

“However, the sources of money used to purchase those goods are not known. Those sources must be known to the public because failure to do so would put us in the danger of being controlled by the donors. When politicians are owned by the donors, that results in a compromised government that is ran by leaders who are under the spell of donors,” Mr Tau said.

However, MPs voted against the motion with the Democratic Congress’ Qalabane MP and Home Affairs Minister, Motlalentoa Letsosa arguing that there were already other legislative frameworks that can be used to deal with public donations by MPs.

“That motion was not well configured. We already have the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Act which guides interactions between parliamentarians and the public. It says that every MP should disclose his asset accumulation and should report when they are making donations. There is also the Money Laundering Act which clearly stipulates how donations should be done.

“If we pass this motion, we would be amending the existing laws having not utilised them. I therefore, appeal to the honourable member to withdraw his motion because we already legislation that deals with the issues raised,” said Mr Letsosa.

Mosalemane legislator and Minister of Local Government and Chieftainship, Samuel Rapapa, concurred with Mr Letsosa saying that parliament could not afford to make laws for every single issue especially when other legal instruments were already in existence.

“We cannot make regulations for every issue even as insignificant as giving someone a 2, 5kg bag of maize meal or a packet of cookies,” Mr Rapapa said.

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