MASERU — BNP leader Thesele ‘Maseribane must be prepared to undergo rigorous audit over how he handled party funds, the party’s former treasurer said this week.
Speaking in an interview with the Lesotho Times this week, Seabata Thabisi, said the planned investigation into the abuse of party funds should not be selective.
“I congratulate the BNP leader Thesele ‘Maseribane for taking this bold step in fighting corruption within the BNP. This is a very bold step by a leader of ‘Maseribane’s calibre,” Thabisi said.
“However, Thesele must also be fully prepared to cooperate with the planned commission of inquiry for the sake of a clean and corruption-free BNP.”
The faction-ridden former ruling party last week announced it was setting up a commission of inquiry to look into monies that allegedly went missing during Thabisi’s tenure as treasurer around 2006.
There have been unsubstantiated reports that the previous national executive committee had failed to account for about M600 000.
Among those who have been asked to appear before the commission of inquiry is the party’s former youth league leader, Moeketsi Hanyane, who at one point in 2006 held fort as the party’s acting secretary general.
Hanyane has been accused of failing to submit an outgoing report as well as accounting for M50 000 in donor funds for the BNP youth league while he was president.
He is also being accused of signing official party documents pertaining to finances although he did not have the authority to do so.
The duo is also alleged to have failed to submit their outgoing reports and financial statements.
Thabisi is adamant that the investigation should not be selective.
“The commission should not be narrowed down to just two former members of the BNP national executive committee because that will be counter-productive,” Thabisi said.
“Contrary to the belief that I am opposed to the commission, I will actually cooperate fully. It should be a properly established commission, with clear terms of reference aimed at the eradication of corruption within BNP ranks.
“The English language has a very nice way of advising people like Thesele that ‘those who live in glass houses should not throw stones”, Thabisi said.
“Behavioural scientists on the other hand, warn that when you point a finger at another person, you must be aware that there are three fingers pointing back at you.”
He said the primary reason why ‘Maseribane should also be investigated by the commission, Thabisi said, were the serious malpractices witnessed during the March 25-27, 2011 BNP elective conference which elected ‘Maseribane into the leadership position.
“The malpractices during the conference include delegations of Seqonoka, Hloahloeng, Ketane and all Mokhotlong district constituencies, being refused admission to the conference,” Thabisi said.
“However, unknown people from those constituencies were allowed entry and participation simply because they were handpicked by officials campaigning for Thesele to elect him as leader.”
Those malpractices, Thabisi alleged, included the creation of South Africa’s North-West Province committee which was “even allowed entry into the conference hall as delegates”.
Thabisi warned that “‘Maseribane and company” should therefore be fully prepared to co-operate with the planned commission of inquiry.
Meanwhile, letters seen by this paper suggest BNP secretary general Ranthomeng Matete asked Thabisi to submit the financial statements in 2009.
In one letter dated April 20, 2009 sub-titled ‘Audit of the Financial Statement for 2006’, Matete informed Thabisi that he was required to appear before the BNP executive committee on Tuesday May 5, 2009, to brief it “on the financial statement”.
In response, Thabisi wrote back on April 27 telling Matete that he had no documents to submit because they had “already been submitted”.
“If the honourable committee is not aware, I did hand over the relevant documents to the president and secretary general through A M (Alexis Moeketsi) Hanyane in February 2007,” Thabisi said.
“He later confirmed that he handed them over as requested. This was because at the time I was sick and was going for medical consultation in South Africa.”
To be asked to prepare statements for 2007 in 2009 was surprising to say the least, Thabisi said.
When contacted for comment yesterday, ‘Maseribane told this paper that the context in which Thabisi perceived the commission of inquiry was misguided.
“Contrary to what he thinks, the commission of inquiry is not a witch-hunt. It’s only a way of recovering BNP assets such as land and vehicles,” ‘Maseribane said.
“If I am asked to subject myself to investigations by the commission, I will comply because I have nothing to be ashamed about.”