LESOTHO Revenue Authority (LRA) Commissioner General Thabo Letjama has urged the public to report all cases of corruption to the relevant authorities to help stop leakages in tax collection.
Mr Letjama made the remarks in Maseru yesterday during a joint press conference with the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) and the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) to launch an awareness campaign ahead of International Anti-Corruption Day commemorations on 9 December.
The International Anti-Corruption Day has been observed since 2004 to raise people’s awareness about the costs of corruption and to find ways to combat and prevent it.
Held under the theme “Break the corruption chain”, the campaign will consist of informative seminars on graft, among other activities, meant to sensitise the public on the need to nip the vice in the bud.
Mr Letjama said the law enforcement agencies’ efforts to fight corruption were made all the more difficult by criminals who did not abide by any rules.
“However elusive their tactics, we have made preparations to become effective in the fight against corruption in all its forms by employing synergised and combined efforts with the DCEO and LMPS who are our partners in this initiative,” he said.
“We have come to realise that an economic crime committed under the laws of any of our agencies, has a way of also being an offence in the laws that the two other agencies are administering. For example, people with ill-gotten gains hardly pay their taxes, and as such, committing a crime that is of concern to all the three agencies present today.”
He said each of the agencies would spearhead investigations on issues in their portfolio, to avoid loopholes in the application of justice.
“Suspects are usually apprehended when the question of whether they have paid tax comes into play,” said Mr Letjama.
“Even where a stolen vehicle or goods are involved, one has to produce a tax clearance certificate. Failure to produce the documents would result in the detaining of the items in question.”
He said the campaign was meant to disseminate information and create awareness on the cancerous effects of corruption.
“With the education of our society, we hope to achieve a state whereby all members of the public can join in this fight. The corruption chain continues either with our involvement or our permission,” Mr Letjama said.
“If every one of us were to take the responsibility not to tolerate corruption, its chains would be broken and we would live in a better society.”
DCEO Director General Borotho Matsoso said in addition to corruption, cyber-crimes were also on the rise due to increased internet usage.
“We also have noted the rise of cyber-crimes which are being facilitated by social networks,” said Mr Matsoso.
“Most people fall prey to false alarms raised by scammers on social platforms such as Facebook, and I urge the public to beware. My office will soon be launching a forensic investigation unit, which will look into cyber issues and money laundering scams.”