MASERU — A former personal secretary to former minister Lebohang Nts’inyi says allegations that the ex-minister benefited from the M600 000 donated for youth projects in the Stadium Area constituency were malicious lies.
Lineo Tlapane, who was in charge of the projects, told the Lesotho Times that Nts’inyi had nothing to do with the monies she is alleged to have pinched.
“’M’e Nts’inyi never signed for any money. Hers was to facilitate the process between the Germans and the youth committee,” Tlapane said.
Tlapane was responding to allegations by the Stadium Area youth committee that the former minister, who is also the deputy secretary general of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) had abused the money.
The committee’s secretary general Mangaliso Makakole alleged that the donation never reached the constituency.
The money was meant to finance market gardening, nursery and brick-making projects to empower unemployed youths in the constituency.
But Tlapane said Makakole’s allegations against Nts’inyi, who was booted out of cabinet in August, are false.
Even Makakole’s figures of the money donated are wrong, she said in an interview on Monday.
Makakole alleged the donation was released in batches of M103 148 and M500 000.
“The only money that I know of, which was invested in the projects of which I was the co-ordinator is M103 148. I know absolutely nothing about the M500 000,” Tlapane said.
According to Tlapane, the M103 148 was released at the end of 2009 but it was already too late to start any projects.
She said together with Makakole and youth chairman Lekhotla Mats’aba they agreed that the projects would start in 2010.
Yet when the time came for the projects to start Makakole and Mats’aba were not fully committed, she said.
She alleged that the two also failed to find youths from the constituency’s eight branches who were willing to work for the initial three months without pay while the projects generated capital.
“They both later gave me the go ahead to find people to work on the projects all by myself. It was tough finding people who would work for free,” Tlapane said.
“Eventually they left the project altogether. They never even came to me to get reports on how the money was allocated to the projects.”
Later, Tlapane said, Makakole and Mats’aba started demanding money from the projects.
“They demanded that I give them money from the brick production project as they suspected we had closed the door on them and were using the money alone,” Tlapane alleged.
Tlapane said the damaging report that Makakole tabled at the Stadium Area youth committee elective conference in December “had been cooked up” because she was never asked for the “real report”.
She was reluctant to reveal the contents of her report but said the youth committee’s former treasurer Mahali Mokhanya was privy to it.
She maintained that the report was still confidential as it had not been presented to the LCD‘s Stadium Area constituency committee.
Tlapane said the money was used to purchase sewing machines and grow butternuts and potatoes.
“We are yet to start with the plant nursery. We could not do it due to the heavy rains. The brick project also had to be halted because we had conflicts with the owners of the site we were using,” Tlapane said.
“If it were not for difficulties finding a place we would be working smoothly. As soon as we secure a site to work from we will start with making bricks again.”
Meanwhile, the Stadium Area constituency chairman Motlatsi Molise has accused Makakole of being “a habitual liar”.
Makakole alleged last week that in February 2009, Molise had told him that the M500 000 had been released by the German consulate.
“How could I have been going about saying there was M500 000 when I had not seen it? I’ve never had any discussion involving money with Makakole,” Molise charged.
“If he continues with his smear campaign I will have no option but to sue him for defamation of character.
“Where will he get the money to pay me if he loses?”
Molise blamed the ongoing factionalism within the LCD for the unfounded allegations.
One of the two factions, he added, is hell-bent on destroying the other “by telling lies and making damning accusations”.
“They are just furthering their own personal agenda. What they are doing is not to the benefit of the LCD. They make it worse by involving media,” Molise said.
“If one were to analyse this behaviour one would discover that people who are causing confusion are new in the party and are in the dark about how we do things.”