Forestry minister, PS clash

Forestry minister, PS clash

MASERU – THE Ministry of Forestry is a house on fire.
At the centre of the clashes are the Minister Leshoboro Mohlajoa and his Principal Secretary ’Maseithati Mabeleng.
The clashes between the two have now rendered the ministry dysfunctional, according to Mohlajoa.

The minister has listed a litany of grievances against his PS which he says is compromising the performance of the ministry.
He accused Mabeleng of gallivanting on international trips at the expense of her work in the ministry. He says as a result of her trips, the PS no longer has time to deal with issues in the ministry.

In July, Mabeleng was in New York where she spent two weeks and just spent two weeks back home. She then went to Geneva in August.
Sources at the ministry said the PS was also planning to travel to India but her juniors “failed to book” the trip.
“She was furious over this,” a source within the ministry said, adding that she ordered that per diems of junior officers who went to India should not be paid.

Mohlajoa is also not happy with the selection of “a single company that seems to be everywhere in the ministry”.
“This company caters all the times in the ministry and it is uncontested,” he said.
Surprisingly, the minister said this company supplies for the ministry every time there is a function in the country.
Supplying and catering are done by that company, he said, suggesting that the PS seemed to have an interest in it.
Mohlajoa said he called the PS for a meeting but she did not show up.
“She does not want to meet with me,” Mohlajoa said.
thepost is in possession of the name of the company that has caused the uproar in the ministry.

Documents show that on June 11, the company supplied meals for the ministry in Roma for M9 199 while on the 17th of the same month it supplied food in Qacha’s Neck for M25 650.
On the 27th the company supplied food for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) VIPs and the community for M18 300.
On June 13, the company supplied food in Mohale’s Hoek for M2 410.
The company supplied food worth M43 050 in Mazenod for the ministry’s function on June 23.

For the Maseru Nursery activity, the company supplied meals worth M14 000 on July 23.
In Ha-Lejone, Leribe, the company supplied food worth M28 700 on August 13.
There is still an unpaid amount of M87 500 that the company has claimed from the ministry for functions held in Qacha’s Neck, Roma and Thaba-Tseka respectively.

The ministry has already forked out M138 889 to this company in just three months.
In total, the company is going to get M226 389 when all the outstanding balances have been cleared.
Speaking from Matsieng where she said she was preparing for the Independence Celebrations, Mabeleng declined to comment on the minister’s allegations.
“That would amount to being irresponsible. The minister is my principal,” she said.

She said she believes if there are issues within the ministry they will have to sit down and solve them.
“But what l cannot do with all due respect is to comment on what the minister has said,” Mabeleng added.

Last night Mohlajoa said he had locked the PS out of the office so that she could come and have talks with him.
“I have installed a new lockset in her office,” he said.
He said he had also written a letter to Mabeleng’s boss, the Government Secretary, informing him of what is happening in the ministry.
“I think I will have to part ways with her as long as she behaves like this,” he said.
He said he needs answers over his PS’s behaviour.
“I do not think l am still interested in working with her anymore,” Mohlajoa said.

thepost was also reliably informed that Mabeleng refused to process payments for officials who were going to spearhead a shrubs project that is going to be run by the Ministry of Finance.
Prime Minister Thomas Thabane said the project is meant to create jobs for jobless youths.

“She said she is the accounting officer in the ministry,” the source further said.
When further pressed on the matter, Mabeleng also declined to comment on the allegations.

Majara Molupe


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