Private sector boss must step down

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Osman Moosa, who was convicted of tax fraud in August, is putting up the “Mother of all Fights” to retain his position as chairman of the Private Sector Foundation of Lesotho.

The man has been under relentless pressure after he was convicted of tax fraud running into millions of maloti by the High Court.

That a man heading such a pivotal foundation could be caught flouting the law should have been quite embarrassing to the organisation which was formed to promote the interests of the business community in Lesotho.

The conviction means Moosa was working at cross-purposes with the interests of the foundation.

We are therefore not surprised that there has been a clique within the foundation that has been persistently pushing for his ouster since that High Court verdict.

Their argument is that the organisation should not be led by a man with a soiled reputation.

We agree.

Surprisingly, Moosa has also received some backing from other local businessmen who want him to stay put.

We think Moosa should look at the bigger picture.

He should realise that the foundation is too important an institution that has interests that super-cede those of the individual.

He must therefore do the honourable thing and step down. He is a man with dirty hands.

Moosa must also admit that he has brought the organisation into disrepute.

It is our position that the foundation must be led by a man or woman with impeccable credentials.

That man must be free from reproach.

This is critical if the foundation is to be able to engage the government from a higher moral ground.

The leadership of the foundation must retain the freedom of speech to be able to call the government to order and push for reforms that enhance the private sector.

But with Moosa at the helm we doubt the foundation will be able to speak forthrightly on issues that affect the business community.

As such the organisation risks falling into irrelevance.

We think the organisation will struggle to raise critical issues that need to be addressed as it pushes its reformist agenda.

The foundation has very noble goals.

It says it seeks to serve as a focal point for the private sector in its advocacy of policies that promote the long-term development of a dynamic private sector in Lesotho.

It also seeks to promote and ensure dialogue between the government of Lesotho and the private sector as well as promote the development of the private sector community.

Moosa’s conviction on charges of dodging tax means he has been working at cross purposes with the development of Lesotho’s economy.

By dodging tax, Moosa seriously sabotaged Lesotho’s development agenda.

It is precisely for this reason that we think Moosa has become a liability to the organisation.

For goodness sake, Moosa must have the decency to step down. If he refuses the foundation must kick him out.

Those who lead the Private Sector Foundation must be able to fully comply with the law if it is to retain the higher moral ground to push for reforms.

Too often we have had businessmen crying their voices hoarse about the breathtaking levels of corruption in Lesotho.

This is the chance for the foundation to walk the talk by demanding that leaders lead by example.

If Moosa has any tinge of conscience he must step down, and step down now.

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