DCEO boss pushed out

DCEO boss pushed out

MASERU – THE government has ordered the director general of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to pack his bags and leave five office months before his contract ends.

Borotho Matsoso was told on Tuesday to go on terminal leave until his contract officially expires in June.
He will leave office on Friday after a hurried handover he did not expect.
In January, Matsoso, appointed in 2014 on a five-year-contract, wrote to the government requesting to be appointed for another tenure.
This was as per his contract that says he should indicate six months before the end of his tenure if he wants a renewal.
He waited for a response for more than a month until Tuesday when he received a letter telling him to immediately go on terminal leave.

Matsoso told thepost that he had been hopeful that he will be reappointed.
He said he was surprised by the instruction to leave office immediately.
“I am out already and now I am just completing the handover,” Matsoso said.
The letter, he said, did not specify why his request for a renewal was rejected.
A lawyer by training, Matsoso first became DCEO director general in 2003.

He later headed the Lesotho Revenue Authority’s investigations department and the support unit at the Central Bank of Lesotho before Prime Minister Thomas Thabane reappointed him to lead the DCEO during his first coalition government.
Matsoso said he would have wanted another term because it is only now that some of his initiatives were beginning to show results.
“It is only not that we were starting to get the resources to properly deliver on our mandate,” he said.
Matsoso said he did not have qualms with the government’s decision to reject his request for a renewal.
“It is the prerogative of the appointing authority to make such decisions and I accept what has been decided.
“I would have wanted more time but that is not my decision to make.”

He said he will proudly remember the high profile cases the anti-corruption unit handled under his leadership.
“I believe that as an organisation we are in the right direction. We have made an impact.”
Matsoso believes that one of his most notable achievements was the establishment of the Asset Forfeiture Unit which he described as “very effective”.

The unit confiscates assets suspected to have been acquired using proceeds from corrupt activities. The idea is to stop suspects from continuing to benefit from their alleged crimes.

Borotho is likely to be remembered for his dogged pursuit of former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing for alleged corruption.
Under his leadership, the unit also went after former Finance Minister ‘Mamphono Khaketla for allegedly soliciting a bribe from a company that had won the government’s fleet management tender.

But the DCEO seems to have also bungled some high profile investigations and dismally lost cases. For instance, the DCEO’s case against former Home Affairs principal secretary (PS), Retšelisitsoe Ketsi, was thrown out because its investigators kept asking for more time to gather evidence.

Ketsi had been charged for allegedly receiving millions in bribes from Nikuv International, an Israeli company that won the multimillion maloti ID and passport tender.

The DCEO’s case against former Finance Minister Dr Timothy Thabane also collapsed after the prosecution kept fumbling when asked to bring concrete evidence.

Thahane had been charged for fraud relating to the block farming scheme. The High Court ruled that the state had failed to prepare a case for Thahane to defend.

The Court of Appeal later dismissed the prosecution’s appeal against that judgement.
There have been other high profile cases that have ended in disappointment after suspects cut plea deals with the state to get away with murder from far less serious charges.
Mosito Khethisa, the former PS of Finance, was charged with fraud and corruption but eventually got off with a minor charge that attracted fine.

Staff Reporter

 

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