. . . accuses govt parties of corruptly awarding security sector posts to supporters
ALLIANCE of Democrats (AD) leader Monyane Moleleki has accused the seven parties in the outgoing coalition government of corruptly handing out posts in the country’s security agencies to their supporters.
Mr Moleleki said this in an exclusive interview with the Lesotho Times yesterday in the aftermath of his acquittal from corruption charges in the High Court on Tuesday, adding it was such acts of corruption that prompted him to dump the Democratic Congress (DC) of which he was deputy leader.
However, Mr Moleleki’s claims were last night dismissed by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s government as “sign of a desperate man hungry for power”.
Mr Moleleki left the DC in December 2016 to form the AD after a court ruling frustrated his bid to wrest control of the party from Dr Mosisili and withdraw it from the seven-member coalition government.
Mr Moleleki took with him most of the then DC executive committee members, a sizeable chunk of legislators as well as members of the women and youth leagues.
The AD leader was once Police minister in the government whose other partners include the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC), Popular Front for Democracy (PFD), Basotho Congress Party (BCP), National Independent Party (NIP) and the Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP).
And for the first time yesterday, Mr Moleleki revealed he was part of “a corrupt act” of enlisting 250 police recruits from the seven parties’ support base to undergo training at the Police Training College (PTC) last year.
“I am one of the people within government that made 22 000 young men and women of this country to wait for long hours in the sun with hope they would get jobs when we knew we already had our people listed somewhere for the police jobs,” he said.
“I dare Ntate Mosisili and company to come here and tell me I am lying over this. We did this together. We received 22 000 applications from across the country when there were only 250 vacancies available at the PTC.”
Mr Moleleki added: “Young Basotho waited in the sun for days hoping to get a job, but we, together with Ntate Mosisili had already divided the vacancies among ourselves to say DC was going to get 181, LCD 45 and so on. I decided to walk out of such embarrassing corruption.”
He further stated that there were 100 vacancies at the Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS), “and that too was divided amongst the parties in government”.
“About 15 000 young men and women applied for those vacancies, but in actual fact they had simply accompanied others who were already listed for the job. I have since come out clean to the public and apologised for what we did. I am remorseful.
“Ntate Mosisili and company were determined to perpetuate that cruelty over the people and they want the nation to vote for them. I am appealing to the youth to desist from voting for these people.”
However, Dr Mosisili’s Economic and Political Advisor, Dr Fako Likoti yesterday dismissed Mr Moleleki’s utterances, saying: “Ntate Moleleki seems to be gathering everything and anything to portray government as bad as he could but the fact of the matter is that he cannot provide proof of what he is saying.
“For a person of his stature, who was a Police minister, he should know that he should provide evidence, especially for allegations as serious as this.
“I don’t see how people would trust Ntate Moleleki as he is always definitive with statements he makes against the government yet none of what he says comes to pass. He lied that the DC was going to withdraw from government when he was still a member of the party but that didn’t happen. He lied again that elections would not come after the opposition passed a vote of no confidence on Dr Mosisili but elections are coming. He lied on so many things because he is frustrated that he was not able to take over the power in parliament the way he had anticipated and promised his followers,” Dr Likoti said.
Turning to his acquittal, Mr Moleleki said for the past five years, the prosecution failed to produce “credible evidence even by their own dubious standards”.
Mr Moleleki was charged with contravening mining laws after he allegedly awarded prospecting mining licenses to a Mafeteng company Refela Holdings when he was Natural Resources minister in 2012. He was facing three counts of contravening the Mines and Minerals Act along with the four Refela executives, Mohapi Khofu, Tšepo Khofu, Kereke Moteletsane and Moeketsi Motšoane.
He said except for Mr Khofu, he did not know his co-accused and had only seen them for the first time in court.
“But for the past five years, I was accused of collaborating with them in the purported fraud charge.
“Clearly, this case was always politically-inspired against me.”
Mr Moleleki said he had also been accused of embezzling funds for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project when he was Natural Resources minister, although no charges had been preferred against him.
The AD leader said all the people he worked with, “whether they were potential investors or not, know quite well that I hated corruption”.
Mr Moleleki asserted that he would dismiss them the minute they tried to bribe him, adding that it was therefore ironic that a man who hated corruption the way he did to then face graft charges.
“It was unbearably painful to me (to be accused of corruption) and when that was prolonged for five years, it was torture.
“And that’s what I just went through but now it is water under the bridge.”
He also accused Dr Mosisili of instructing the courts to prosecute him while addressing one of his recent rallies.
“It is unbecoming of any prime minister to pass a statement that directs that any person should be prosecuted.
“That is prejudicial to that person. There should be separation of powers and duties among the office of the prime minister, the police and the judiciary. As the prime minister, you cannot tell the police or the courts to prosecute a person. Yours is to set structures that will do that. Give them tools to do the job,” Mr Moleleki charged.
The AD leader said if some ministers in government were investigated, “they would all go to jail.”
Takes swipe at Sekhamane
Mr Moleleki also blasted the DC deputy secretary-general and Finance Minister, Tlohang Sekhamane for “ingratiating himself” with Dr Mosisili in his quest to “be the DC successor.”
He said Mr Sekhamane had spread “false allegations” that he (Mr Moleleki) faked illness to avoid the corruption case.
“Today, if you peruse social media and read Ntate Sekhamane’s posts you will realise he is not a happy man now that Ntate Mosisili has appointed somebody else (Mathibeli Mokhothu) to become the DC deputy leader.
“Ntate Sekhamane painted me negatively in the eyes of Ntate Mosisili so that he appears the possible successor. At times you would hear people saying Ntate Mosisili preferred Dr Pontšo Sekatle and they would also mention Ntate Sekhamane’s name. But at the end of it all, a completely new face appeared on the scene, much to the shock of Mme Pontšo and Ntate Sekhamane.”
He said some ministers in the DC thought he would die of cancer and then they would succeed him but “as God and fate would have it, none of that has come to pass”.
“They are now staring down the barrel of my gun – a political gun – and when I shoot they will wish they had not tested my strength,” Mr Moleleki said.
Repeated efforts to secure a comment from Mr Sekhamane proved fruitless as his phone was unreachable.