Investigate Palace project

Investigate Palace project

OUR last week’s special report on the Royal Palace project in Maseru was a source of real shame and embarrassment for us.
A project that should have been finished in just 18 months has now dragged for seven long years, with no immediate prospects that it will be wrapped up any time soon.
That is a major embarrassment for anyone connected with what should have been a very prestigious project.

In fact, we believe the manner the Palace project has been executed over the years clearly captures what is wrong with us as a country.
The shocking lethargy with which we handle key national projects is a cause for national shame.
The delays only serve to confirm that we have a diseased conscience that has long ceased to be functional. That explains why we have lost all sense of shame in failing to meet deadlines in connection with the Palace.

We appear to have lost all moral sense.
That probably explains why there is this shocking lack of prudence in managing our scarce financial resources.
Why the Palace project has gone this far without being completed baffles us. The result is that the cost of building the palace has now ballooned from a mere M160 million to close to half a billion maloti.

The delays and the blame-shifting that we saw during the investigation of the story is a clear indication of the rot within our institutions and companies that are mandated to oversee key national projects. We find the same rot across the board in the construction sector. The companies that win big tenders to build our roads have largely proven to be an embarrassment.
That is why some of the roads they have built in the last few years have all fallen apart.

There is clearly something wrong here with the manner in which we do business.
At the centre of the rot at the Royal Palace is what appears to be the absence of proper supervision of those carrying out the project. With close monitoring most of the things that went wrong could have been picked much earlier with corrective action being taken immediately.

But none of the above happened and the results are all clear for all to see.
To say this project stinks is just an understatement. We would like to suggest that a comprehensive forensic investigation into what went wrong at the Palace be carried out.
In fact we would like to see whoever was involved in the bungling of the project being held accountable. Heads must roll in the Ministry of Public Works. Those that are found to be behind the bungling must be held accountable.

Unless we do so, we risk creating another mess elsewhere. We therefore once again call for a proper forensic investigation into the Palace project with all those implicated in any wrong-doing being held accountable. We must make an example to all those charged with key national projects that they must always deliver when given a critical mandate.
The people of Lesotho have been talking; they are looking for answers and must find a cogent explanations of what happened to their money.

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