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Top DCEO investigator arrested

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…as DG Molelle vows to weed off corrupt elements from anti-graft body

Mohloai Mpesi

IN a dramatic incident, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) yesterday arrested one of its principal investigators after he was caught red handed receiving a bribe.

The top corruption buster (name withheld) was taken into the DCEO’s holding cells in handcuffs after he was caught in action receiving a portion of the promised M150 000 from his victim in Khubetsoana, Maseru.

He is expected to appear before the Maseru Magistrates Court tomorrow to be officially charged.

According to DCEO Director General, Knorx Molelle, the suspect had been swindling money from people whom he deceived into believing the DCEO was investigating them, then demanding bribes from such persons to make their cases “disappear”.

Mr Molelle said more than M100 000 had already been paid by some of the investigator’s victims in other cases unrelated to yesterday’s.

Mr Molelle said the arrest was part of a pledge he made upon assuming office in February 2023   that he would clear the corruption busting body of ‘dirty’ officers regressing the fight against corruption.

The DCEO has faced repeated criticisms that it was ineffectual in fulfilling its mandate to fight crime because it was itself a “haven for criminals”.

Mr Molelle seems determined to clear those very negative perceptions by weeding off corrupt elements from the anti-graft body.

“It is very unfortunate that this happens to one of our officers, but it has been my intention to fight corruption and when I started this job, I told DCEO officers that I will start with our own house to ensure that my colleagues are not engaged in corrupt activities,” he said at a press conference at the DCEO’s head office in Maseru.

Added Mr Molelle: “For the longest time there have always been  complaints that the DCEO cannot fight corruption because they are corrupt themselves. So, I embarked on this crusade to ensure that before I go out to fight corruption, my own house is clean. I will ensure that DCEO officers are not corrupt.

“Now we have arrested one of our colleagues, who has been embroiled in corrupt activities. For the longest time he has been taking money from people, threatening them that the DCEO has  cases against them and if they pay, he will make sure that their dockets disappear.”

Mr Molelle said the DCEO was working alongside the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) and the National Security Service (NSS) to collect all the necessary evidence that could be used against the arrested officer in court.

“We are going to fight corruption as a united force, especially matters that involve our own colleagues. Ntja e itlhotlhora matsetse ( a dog is shaking off the ticks). This is to give the public much needed confidence and trust that when we fight corruption, we begin with ourselves,” he said.

 “At least under my term, DCEO will not be used to settle political scores and to settle self-serving agendas.”

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