There must be consequences

There must be consequences

ELSEWHERE in this issue we carry yet another shocking story of how Lesotho’s civil servants continue to recklessly plunder state resources.
Thanks to the relentless efforts of the Public Accounts Committee, and its chairman, Selibe Mochoboroane, the issue of corruption has been kept in the public consciousness.
This week, the PAC reminded us yet again of the levels to which public servants often sink to plunder state resources.

Mochoboroane wanted to know what action the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took against one, Lerato Tšosane, a former consular to Durban who stands accused of looting thousands of maloti.
A 2013 report by the Auditor General Lucy Liphafa revealed that Tšosane transferred M500 000 into her personal account.
She also stands accused of paying M35 000 in rentals for a house that remained unoccupied for a year.

Tšosane also hired two photocopying machines with the consulate paying M75 000 per month.
The story is a vivid reminder of how we have allowed “evil servants” to dip their fingers into the cookie jar and get away with it.
We believe there should be consequences.

If no punitive action is taken against thieves, they obviously will get emboldened and become more daring.
That is why we expect that those accused of corruption will face the full wrath of the law.
So far, there has been no earth-shattering action that has been taken against those who are accused of perpetrating corruption.
For the sake of its own credibility, the PAC must insist that stern measures be taken against offenders.

Unless it does so, the whole thing will appear to be a charade and a waste of time and resources.
It would be a travesty of justice were the PAC hearings not result in concrete trials with a few individuals being convicted.
The simple truth of the matter is that there must be consequences for the corrupt amongst us.

Of course, the PAC, particularly its chairman, Selibe Mochoboroane, have had their critics. Mochoboroane is seen as too aggressive and over-zealous. They also accuse him of pushing a political agenda during the public hearings.
His critics insist Mochoboroane has used the PAC hearings as a platform to achieve a political goal.

But we cannot deny that the man has done a fantastic job in keeping civil servants on their toes.
Instead of lashing out at the man, we believe Mochoboroane needs a pat on the back.
He is probably one man who has single-handedly kept the anti-corruption crusade in the limelight. He has done quite a good job.

We however can only be satisfied when that aggression is converted into prosecutions and convictions for offenders.
The PAC hearings and the yearly audit reports from the Auditor-General show that we indeed have a serious problem with regards to how we treat state resources.
We need to see the law coming down hard on offenders who think they can plunder state coffers and get away with it.

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