MASERU — Former Home Affairs Principal Secretary Retšelisitsoe Khetsi, accused of accepting M5 million in bribes from the controversial Israel firm Nikuv International Projects (Nikuv), would be reappearing before the Maseru Magistrate Court on February 27, next year.
The case was yesterday remanded to February next year.
Nikuv, the company contracted in a multi-million dollar project to produce Lesotho’s National Identity (ID) and electronic passports allegedly bribed Khetsi through his co-accused Motsotuoa Makoa with US$508 018.62 (about M5 million at today’s exchange rate).
Khetsi and Makoa briefly appeared before the Senior Resident Magistrate ’Makampong Mokhoro yesterday.
The contract was awarded in March 2012 amid widespread concerns that it was unacceptable for those in power then to award such a lucrative contract, worth about M300 million without an open, transparent and public tender processes.
Khetsi is accused of violating Penal Code of 2010 by allegedly accepting M5 million in bribes from Nikuv.
He is alternatively charged under the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act of 1999.
Makoa, working as Nikuv’s agent, stands accused of facilitating the payment to Khetsi to induce him to irregularly and unlawfully facilitate the granting of the contract to Nikuv in violation of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offenses Act.
Khetsi is also accused of unlawfully and intentionally abusing the function of his office as the performance of his duties in violation of Procurement Regulations of 2007.
According to the charge sheet he abused his powers as the Chief Accounting Officer with the purpose of obtaining an undue advantage for Nikuv with the intention of facilitating the granting of the contract for the production of the national ID and electronic passports.
Makoa is also accused of contravening the prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act by facilitating the alleged bribe payment to Khetsi.
The exact dates of when the monies were allegedly paid to Khetsi are not known to the prosecution.
DCEO’s Advocate Sefako Seema is representing the crown.
Khetsi was represented by Advocate Qalehang Letsika while Makoa is represented by Advocate Nkoya Thabane.