A shameless crook

9
Of all sins in this world nothing gets Scrutator’s blood boiling like fraud and hypocrisy. It’s worse when you add arrogance into the mix.

Businessman Osman Moosa, that convicted tax dodger and fraudster, is both hypocritical and arrogant.

He is a crook too (Moosa, you can use the millions you saved through tax evasion and fraud to hire the best lawyers to sue Scrutator but you will remain a wretched crook).

Instead of hanging his head in shame Moosa has the audacity to shed crocodile tears and pretend that he has felt the pain of his conviction.

He says Selkol, his company, might struggle to pay the M1.5 million fine and the M4 million it owes the revenue authority.

He had the cheek to propose to pay the M4 million in 24 months.

Why, you may ask?

Well, Moosa says his company employs 1 800 people who might have to be retrenched because the company cannot raise M4 million in four months.

Ha!

He dodged tax for almost a decade and now wants to play victim.

He sees nothing wrong with pleading poverty even though it is clear that his sentence was a mere slap on the wrist. That sentence was a high-five.

For years he has been making illegal savings by dodging tax but he now has the nerve to claim that he is broke.

Does he sincerely believe that anyone in this country will believe such bunkum?

The problem with businessmen like Moosa and many others in Lesotho is that they think that they can trample on the laws of this country and get away with it.

They think because they have a “direct line” to some politicians they can pee on the laws of this country with impunity.

You can feel this arrogance when Moosa speaks.

He clearly overrates his influence. He has a nauseating sense of self.

That is why even after being convicted Moosa has unashamedly clung to the position of chairman of the Private Sector Foundation (PSF), a very important body tasked with promoting the private sector in Lesotho and inter-facing with the government on matters of economic development.

He doesn’t seem to realise that there is everything wrong with a felon running a national organisation.

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The hypocrisy of it all is mindboggling.

This is the man who has been calling on the government to improve the business environment in this country.

But while making such noble calls he was sabotaging the very country which has allowed him to become filthy rich.

He was stealing from the same government from which he was demanding greater transparency and broader private sector reforms.

He was starving this poor country of its tax revenue while demanding better infrastructure for the business sector.

While engaged in these devious monkeyshines his companies were getting multi-million maloti tenders to supply furniture to schools around Lesotho.

How ungrateful can a man be?

Phew!

How did he think the government was going to fund such projects when he was dodging tax with such zeal?

Now that he has been exposed for who he is, Moosa must relinquish the chairmanship.

He has lost the moral authority to speak on behalf of the business sector in this country.

Crooks should not speak on behalf of honest people.

Lesotho is full of men and women of integrity who can do a better job.

But perhaps the biggest question is how Moosa and his enterprises have been getting government tenders while dodging tax with impunity.

It is common knowledge that you cannot get a government tender if you don’t have a tax clearance.

What loophole in the Lesotho Revenue Authority was he able to exploit?

Nxa!

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Someone must remind journalists in the state media that bootlicking has never been a lucrative vocation.

Good scribes keep their tongues under a tight “leash” lest they come across as pathetic brown nosers even for those who might have no need for such services or have had enough of people trying to crawl to them.

Groveling is a sickening antic.

Someone needs to caution the scribes in the state media because they seem to have seized on that gratuity degree bestowed on Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili by Limkokwing University and they are stampeding to call him “Dr”.

That apple polishing attitude has always been prevalent in our state media but it has intensified since Mosisili came back from Malaysia in May with an honourary doctorate degree in leadership.

Suddenly, news bulletins on our notoriously lumbering state media have become wordier because newsreaders seem to have decided that it’s vulgar not to refer to Mosisili just as Prime Minister Mosisili.

Bootlicking has gone into overdrive.

It’s a battle of sycophants.

Their tongues are working overtime.

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Instead of cutting the long story short they would rather refer to him as “The Right Honourable the Prime Minister Dr Pakalitha Mosisili”.

It’s such a sad sight watching whole men and women engage in such an embarrassing adventure.

Scrutator has watched in shock as newsreaders repeatedly stumble while battling to get that title right.

It was bad enough when the title did not have that “Dr” thing in it.

The sycophancy is now threatening to get out of hand.

Scrutator hopes the political appointees at Radio Lesotho, Lesotho TV and Ultimate FM are not forcing news writers to add the “Dr” into that laboriously long title each time they mention the prime minister’s name.

She also hopes that this “Dr” madness that has pervaded our propaganda-laden bulletins has not come as a direct result of “barking” by some overzealous official from the top.

While it is permissible that a recipient of an honourary doctorate degree can add the “Dr” salutation to their name it is not customary for them or their loyalists to insist that people use that title.

Nelson Mandela has many of those degrees but there was never a day Scrutator heard them being used on South African radio or TV stations.

He remains Mandela or just Nelson.

Kofi Annan had one but he remained Kofi Annan even to the most loyal of his backscratchers at the United Nations.

Bishop Desmond Tutu has received dozens of them but he remains just Bishop Desmond Tutu. Scrutator therefore doubts that the prime minister will resent anyone who refers to him simply as Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.

In fact, Scrutator suspects that someone desperate to curry favour with Mosisili has issued a directive that anyone who omits that “Dr” title will find themselves pounding the streets of Maseru, looking for a new job.

While at it, Scrutator would like to remind those speech writers and the journalists in government that it is good practice that if they insist on adding the “Dr” title to Mosisili’s name they must always remember to add the “h.c” to make it clear that the doctorate was given for honour.

It’s standard practice to guard against people confusing doctorates earned through study and those given for honour.

That way we won’t have people who studied for their doctorate degrees grumbling that their thunder is being “stolen” by those who have honourary degrees.

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Speaking of overzealous government employees, there is certainly one in the communications ministry who must learn to keep his zeal in check.

His name is Ratokelo Nkoka, acting principal secretary in the ministry.

Last week he took his misdirected exuberance to another level.

The ministry allegedly switched off four radio stations for broadcasting malicious and inciting reports on the strike by textile workers.

Nkoka initially tried to blame the blackout on a technical glitch but when he was cornered he revealed the real reason why the radio stations had been silenced.

“They (private stations) are enjoying a ride on our frequencies and yet they are insulting us,” Nkoka said.

“What would you do if you were in my shoes?”

In his rush to portray the government as a victim of a reckless media Nkoka unwittingly exposed the real agenda behind the decision to muzzle the radio stations.

He also exposed himself as a vindictive civil servant who is yet to understand that power comes with humility.

It is amazing that Nkoka, a senior civil servant, still does not know that radio frequencies are a national resource.

Those frequencies belong to the people of Lesotho and not the government.

To say private stations “are enjoying a ride on our frequencies” is a reckless attempt to personalise something that neither Nkoka nor the government owns.

There is a difference between regulating something and owning it.

Scrutator suspects that by laying that dubious claim to the frequencies Nkoka was trying to please his masters.

Nkoka must be reminded that the government owns nothing in this country. It is just an administrator of national resources.

Every asset on the government’s balance sheet belongs to the people of Lesotho.

We the people of Lesotho own this government.

He must be reminded that the chair, the pen, desk, bin, computer and broom in his office all belong to the people of Lesotho.

Even the air you are breathing now Nkoka belongs to the people of Lesotho and not the government.

The least Nkoka can do for this country in these times of crisis is to learn to put his mind into gear before opening his mouth.

He should be grateful that the people of Lesotho have employed him to work in their government.

Scrutator hopes this is the last time she is reminding Nkoka of these basic facts. Next Scrutator will just whip him with a very long sjambok.

That is not a threat but a promise.

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Lastly, Scrutator would like to apologise for not writing last week. She had joined a group of concerned citizens who were hunting for the thief who stole brains from our opposition leaders.

They all sound brainless these days.

Scrutator will not rest until that brain thief is caught.

But until the thief is caught please assume that we have imbeciles in the opposition movement.

Ache!

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