Sex scandal rocks college

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MASERU — A senior lecturer at Lerotholi Polytechnic says she was fired from her job last month after she turned down the college rector’s love advances.
Masebofane Ramaema (pictured) who was the head of the college’s enterprise and management department was dismissed on November 3 this year together with her colleague Puleng Sakoane who worked as a lecturer under her supervision.
The college said the two had failed to discharge their duties. They have since appealed against the dismissal.
In her appeal Ramaema, who had worked at the college for five years, alleges that she believed that the Rector Tsietsi Lebakae engineered her dismissal because she had rejected his advances.
“I wish to point out that the rector is an active participant in this prosecution as I have turned down his love advances several times and he is thus victimising me,” she said in a letter sent to the chairman of the Lerotholi Polytechnic governing council.
Ramaema told the Lesotho Times yesterday that although the sexual advances began in 2006 they became serious in February last year when she told the rector that she had family problems that had forced her to leave her Naledi home.
She said as soon as she told him her problems, Lebakae offered to book her a room at the Lesotho Sun Hotel.
“I refused because he did not say who was going to pay for that room and for how long,” Ramaema said.
She said when she refused his offer to book her a room at the hotel, Lebake then offered to allocate her a staff house at the college.
“He allocated the house to me without following the normal procedures,” she added.
Under normal procedure an employee applies for a house and a special committee makes the decision.
“In this case she just instructed them to give me the house. I believe that this was meant to bring me closer to him,” she alleged.
“I suspect that he thought that I was in a tight spot and he could manipulate me.
“I believe that he was not doing me a favour by giving me a house. I suspect that he was seeking to benefit by bringing me closer to him.
“When other people asked him about my case he said my situation was desperate.
“I accepted the house but he kept on proposing to book “ a room for me at the Lesotho Sun hotel but I refused,” Ramaema said.
She said sometime later Lebakae suggested that she should go for a massage.
“On two occasions he suggested that I should go for a massage at either Maseru Sun or Lesotho Sun. 
“I am old enough to see when a man is proposing love.
“I tried to look for other reasons why he could be active in my prosecution but I failed to get one except that he made some romantic attempts and I turned him down,” she explained.
She said she believes this could be the reason why she was dismissed because in March of the same year, the rector delayed processing her scholarship to go and study in Australia.
“I believe by that time he was really fed up with me. I gave him the scholarship documents for my travel to Australia but he said there was no need to courier them there because he was going to Australia himself. He said he would drop the documents.”
She said Lebakae “however sat on the documents until she failed to travel to Australia”. 
In her notice of appeal to the institute’s council, Ramaema said her charges were ambiguous because they emanated from mistakes which were beyond her control.
She said she was accused of not ensuring that computyping lessons were conducted.
“There were no chairs in the computer laboratory for the computyping lessons.
“All procedures were followed and attempts were made to get the chairs.
“The requisition was made to buy new chairs but the rector (Lebakae) refused to sign it.
“How else could the students attend the lessons in the computer lab?” she asked.
She said the students needed chairs for the computyping lessons because they should also learn about good posture when typing.
She also alleged that Lebakae victimised her because she refused to connive with him to expel one of the institute’s staffers.
“I am also being victimised by the same rector for failing to help him dismiss Mrs Rose Lepamo by providing him with unfounded malicious allegations,” she said.
She says her dismissal had made her pay twice for the offence that she has been convicted with.
Ramaema said she was first ordered to work overtime for two weeks as punishment, saying the dismissal is a second punishment for the same offence.
“On my dismissal I stand to suffer great prejudice in that I stand to suffer double jeopardy in that I believe to have served my punishment with the institution having made me work for two weeks overtime to rectify my alleged offence,” she said.
She says the fact that one of the staffers was not dismissed from work yet they committed a similar offence shows that the institution is selective in dealing with the similar offences.
“This institution of a disciplinary hearing has been segregational against me in that in a similar case like mine, one Mrs Malephoi Makara who has been alleged to have committed the same offence as mine, and she confessed to the authorities that like myself she has not taught the said course, has not been prosecuted,” she alleged.
In response to Ramaema’s allegations Lebakae only said Ramaema’s allegations had nothing to do with the case that led to her dismissal.
Lebakae replied in a reference letter LP/ACA/20179 dated 9th November 2009.
The Lesotho Times has a copy of the letter.
“I confirm that I have read the contents of your letter but very unfortunately reasons raised do not address the case at hand but a whole new set of reasons which were not raised during your case.
“On the basis of that I am unable to pass on your appeal.
“Please read the verdict carefully and address yourself on it,” read part of Lebakae’s letter.
Similarly Sakoane feels that her dismissal was unfair.
She says she should have been afforded an opportunity to seek legal representation during the disciplinary hearing.
“The disciplinary committee erred in dismissing my legal representative from the proceedings contrary to the Rule 18(5) of the 1997 Lerotholi Polytechnic Statutes and failing to give and record reasons thereof as promised.
“Given the drastic nature of the sentence and its potential to destroy my career and put me in financial ruin in respect of my pension and gratuity, I should have been warned about it at the commencement of the proceedings so as to consider my legal options in relation to total exclusion of any legal assistance during the entire proceedings,” Sakoane said.
However, the magistrate Tséliso Bale has since ordered Lerotholi Polytechnic to continue paying salaries for the suspended lecturers pending finalisation of their case.
The two did not get their salaries last month.

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