Parliament rejects PAC special report

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MASERU — Parliament on Tuesday unanimously rejected a damning Public Accounts Committee (PAC) special report that was tabled a fortnight ago. The report, which revealed gross abuse of public funds, was said to have been compiled in haste. Finance Minister Timothy Thahane proposed a motion suggesting the report be sent back to the PAC for review. “I ask that the special report of the public accounts portfolio committee be referred back to the same committee for review,” Thahane said. “It seems the report was done in such haste that some members of the same committee were not able to contribute to its formulation. We need to be flexible enough to allow for that to happen.” Thahane was acting as leader of the House in the absence of Deputy Prime Minister Lesao Lehohla. Thahane was swiftly seconded by the PAC chairman and Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) leader, Moeketse Malebo, who confessed before the House that when the report was tabled “we were not ready”. “We had made a written agreement that the report would not be tabled and debated in the National Assembly before it had been adopted by the PAC. We were first going to consider its contents,” Malebo said.
“However, I was shocked when I was instructed by the speaker on Thursday that I should table the report the following day. I wasn’t ready. I therefore concur that the report should be referred back to us.” However, Malebo also noted that according to the National Assembly Standing Order 95(5), the committee had the authority to consider financial statements of all “government ministries and departments established by the constitution”. “We can also launch investigations in our area of competence, to bring to book people who break the law by abusing public funds,” he said.

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