Ex-mines PS in trouble

Ex-mines PS in trouble

Leisa Leisanyane

MASERU – FORMER Mining Principal Secretary Clement Lerotholi is set to appear before the Maseru Magistrate’s Court today to answer charges of fraud and corruption.

Lerotholi is accused of misleading former Mining Minister Tlali Khasu to award a mining lease to a local company without following laid-down procedures.

The crown alleges that Lerotholi, 65, from Phamong in Mohale’s Hoek, “deliberately and with intent to defraud” misrepresented to Khasu that the Mining Board had recommended Qholaqhoe Holdings to be granted a mining licence.

Qholaqhoe Holdings was one of the companies that were eyeing to prospect Kimberlite in Hololo in Butha-Buthe district between June 2013 and April 2013.

Lerotholi is said to have committed fraud when he told Khasu that the board had granted Qholaqhoe Holdings the licence despite knowing that it was not so.

The crown says during the period, Lerotholi abused the functions or position of his office by discharging his duties for the purpose of obtaining an undue advantage for himself and or Qhalaqhoe Holdings.

According to the Mines and Minerals Act 2005, a prospecting licence is applied for in writing to the board through the Commissioner of Mines.

For the board to consider the application, the applicant must provide evidence of adequate financial resources, technical competence and experience to carry out effective prospecting operations.

Also, there should be the proposed work programme to be carried out during the licenced period and estimated costs of the proposed work programme.

The proposed programme of prospecting should be adequate and proper provisions for environmental protection should be made.

The law also requires that the proposed prospecting area is not the same or does not overlap with an existing prospecting area or minerals permit area in respect of the same mineral or associated mineral.

The minister has the power to approve, issue, renew, cancel or suspend a prospecting licence.

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