‘DCEO has no capacity to deal with corruption

‘DCEO has no capacity to deal with corruption

Rapelang Mosae

MASERU – THE Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) does not have enough capacity to deal with corruption, the Director of Public Education Litelu Ramokhoro has said.

Speaking at the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan (NACSAP) workshop on Tuesday, Ramokhoro said while it may seem like the DCEO has a lot of power it has not been capacitated enough to tackle the scourge of corruption.

Ramokhoro said the fact that the DCEO is still only based in Maseru, 10 years after it was established, is a major challenge.

He said the hiring policy also emasculates the DCEO. He said despite the DCEO being a specialised agency, it still hires through the public service.

Ramokhoro said this means that if the government adopts a policy that it will not be hiring any new employees, it suffers despite its dire need of employees.

He said on average, an investigator should handle at least five cases at a time but at present the DCEO only has a single investigator who is handling 30 cases at a time.

Ramokhoro said the DCEO is mandated to prosecute all allegations of corruption, and the public can help by reporting all corruption occurrences, stating that there is a report centre for the DCEO whose number is 22313719.

He said to prevent corruption the DCEO analyses the inner workings of institutions, in order to identify key areas that may lead to corruption.

The objectives of the NACSAP workshop were to define corruption so that it may be understood by the ordinary person.

Ramokhoro said the workshop was also aimed at giving civil society an understanding of how the DCEO works as well as to take civil society through the NACSAP.

Ramokhoro stated that the NACSAP aims at creating transparent and accountable systems.

It further aims at creating awareness and knowledge of the scourge of corruption and its implications.

Speaking at the workshop, the DCEO Director-General Borotho Matsoso said “Lesotho is corrupt hence Basotho are always leaving the country because the opportunities in the country benefit a selected few”.

Matsoso said civil society was invited because it is through partnering with the DCEO that corruption can be combated.

He further said a weak civil society creates a weak society, weak accountability and rule of law and thus leading to fertile ground for corruption.

The NACSAP has so far established a National Coalition Against Corruption (NCAC) which includes a number of stakeholders such as the public sector represented by the Prime Minister, legislature represented by the Speaker of the National Assembly, the judiciary represented by the Chief Justice, the private sector, civil society, media, and institutions of higher learning.

He said the NCAC will sit for the first time on October 13, 2016.

The DCEO also presented a paper on the prosecution strategies it has adopted to ensure efficient prosecution of corruption such as asset forfeiture.

It was said due to the backlog of cases the DCEO acts against property where it applies for confiscation of property within six months of conviction.

This is applied to the property which is deemed to be tainted by virtue of having been acquired through dirty money.

Also the DCEO seeks to recover all pecuniary benefits derived by a person from the commission of corruption.

The DCEO also stated that immediately when prosecution is launched, they apply for restraint of the property in question to ensure that it cannot be used or even sold while the matter is pending before court.

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