THE National University of Lesotho (NUL) has refuted allegations of corruption in the procurement of academic regalia made by its Students Representative Council (SRC), stating that the deal with five firms is above board.
For its part, the SRC is pushing for a locally-owned business to be given the tender, arguing that the current deal should be scrapped because one of the suppliers is a Chinese national.
The SRC has also called on the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences to investigate NUL management over the matter.
In a statement “to set the record straight” issued on Friday, the Roma-based university says allegations of impropriety were being made on both radio and print media with regards to the procurement of the regalia which includes gowns, hoods and mortar boards.
NUL states that the current deal was inked in 2015 with five local companies, one of which was owned by a Chinese national.
The contracts were for two years and would expire with the 2017 graduation in September.
“NUL is preparing to invite tenders from the public for the supply of academic regalia for the University for the next round in preparation for the 2018 graduation,” reads part of the statement.
“It is therefore not correct to say NUL has awarded tenders since the Student Representative Council indicated its interest to bid in May 2017.
“The SRC or any consortium with whom they may be involved will be at liberty to submit their tender which will be processed in accordance with the University procurement procedures.”
However, SRC Secretary-General Thato Ponya told LeNA they wanted a local firm to be given the tender and the current deal to be scrapped.
“We want to reach an agreement with the NUL management to have this local consortium awarded this tender as we have negotiated with them that whatever profits they make out of the regalia, they leave three percent of it which will remain as contingency that is beneficial to both the SRC and the institution,” said Mr Ponya.
“Out of the M1 700 that each graduate pays for a gown, some goes to these individuals (NUL management) hence their determination to keep this company, while we are negotiating for a decrease of between M700 to M800 per gown with this local consortium.” – Staff Writer/LeNA