MASERU — Police are investigating current and former government ministers for alleged corruption, the Lesotho Times can reveal.
Yesterday Police Commissioner Kizito Mhlakaza confirmed that he was investigating several current and former ministers.
He however refused to name them for fear of jeopardising investigations.
Mhlakaza’s confirmation comes a few days after Prime Minister Tom Thabane called on the police to arrest corrupt current and former ministers.
Thabane was speaking at a gathering in Hololo constituency in Butha-Buthe on Sunday.
Thabane said there were allegations that there were “corrupt ministers who committed crimes in the past”.
“I instruct the police to arrest them. Yes, Commissioner Mhlakaza, I say to you arrest these people even if they are still ministers or former ministers,” Thabane said.
“A person will be released by the courts of law if there is lack of evidence. We are committed to rooting out corruption.”
Mhlakaza told the Lesotho Times that he had heard Thabane’s call and he was already working on several cases involving senior public figures.
“I have cases before me that I’m already working on”.
“I did hear the PM’s instruction when he said it. We already have cases on the table that we’re already working on. Before long you will hear all about it,” Mhlakaza said.
Asked to elaborate on the number of the cases and the status of those being investigated, Mhlakaza declined to respond saying “it will compromise the cases we have”.
“Revealing or giving an indication as to who are the people being investigated will seriously compromise our case. All there is that the investigations involve prominent people,” Mhlakaza said.
“I appeal to you to be patient until such a time that we’re ready to brief you on what the police have established.”
The prime minister’s call seems to have been targeted at current ministers who also served as ministers under the previous Lesotho Congress for Democracy government.
There are currently six members who served under former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s government.
They are Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, Energy Minister Timothy Thahane, Finance Minister Leketekete Ketso, Forestry Minister Khotso Matla, Public Service Minister Motloheloa Phooko and Foreign Affairs Minister Mohlabi Tsekoa.
At his inauguration in June last year Thabane promised to fight corruption to improve Lesotho’s economic prospects.
According to the Economic Statistics Database services provided by EconomyWatch.com, Lesotho ranks number 78 on the Corruption Perception Index which features global statistics.
In August last year, Former Natural resources Minister and deputy leader of the Democratic Congress party, Monyane Moleleki, was arrested for alleged corruption but the state failed to charge him.
He has since said no matter how deep the police dig into his affairs they will never find anything criminal because he is “as clean as snow on a mountain”.
He has also challenged the government to investigate his former colleagues who are now ministers in the coalition government.