Parly to be ready by October

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MASERU — The new M70 million parliament building will be ready for use by October, principal secretary in the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Lebohang Phooko, said yesterday.
It has a capacity of 240 seats for MPs and another 80 in the public gallery.
The building has not been used since it was completed early last year.
Speculation was rife that the Chinese contractors had refused to hand over the keys to the building to the government after they were promised a piece of land at Sea Point in Maseru, a promise which was allegedly never fulfilled.
But Phooko yesterday dismissed the allegations as unfounded during a press conference at the new parliament building.
“It is not true that the government promised any land in exchange for the building,” he said.
The new parliament building is a donation from the Chinese government.
“We have invited you here to address allegations that are being made over the media that the Chinese contractors are refusing to hand over the keys to the government.
“This is not true,” Phooko said.
He said there were certain specifications which should be met before the building can be used.
“For instance the chairs in the public gallery in the National Assembly do not allow members of the public to see the honourable members during parliamentary discussions.
“This calls for relocation of the seats in the public gallery,” he said adding that an architect had been appointed for this.
He also said chairs for the MPs should be changed from maroon to green.
“The chairs for the honourable members also seem not to be of the quality we want.”
Phooko said the process of making the new parliament meet the specifications would start soon to enable the building to be ready either in September or October.

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