Former Fokothi boss grilled

Former Fokothi boss grilled

MASERU- THE former rector of the Lerotholi Polytechnic Tsietsi Lebakae was on Thursday quizzed by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over M348 000 transferred to South Africa during his tenure. The money was transferred from the college to a South African account in 2010.
The PAC wanted Lebakae to explain how the money was used because there is no paper trail to justify the transfer.

Under intense questioning from the committee members Lebakae said the intention was to buy equipment for the college. He told the PAC that he transferred the money to a company called Elecktro-vroomen to buy electricity equipment for the students.

The committee was however surprised by his claim that the equipment was delivered to the college despite admitting that he had not personally seen it.
This contradicted Auditor General Lucy Liphafa’s report that the equipment was never delivered to the school. The Auditor General’s report said there was no delivery note to show that the college had received the equipment.

In her report Liphafa had said Lebakae’s signature was attached to the documents showing that he was the one who personally received the equipment.
Liphafa said because there was no evidence that the equipment reached the college it means that that money was pilfered.
But Lebakae insisted that the equipment is there at the school and asked the current rector to search for it in the store-room.

When asked to present the delivery note Lebakae said the PAC is putting him in a tight corner because he is no longer working at the college.
He said he could not do as directed.

Lebese Mochelanyane who is an accountant at the college said the money was transferred to one account with various names.
Thabo Sofonia who is a member of the PAC asked Lebakae to explain the procedure he used to process the payment.
He further asked Lebakae to tell the committee if he ever saw the equipment himself.
Lebakae said he only paid for the equipment that reached the school.

“I never paid for the equipment that never arrived at the school. The equipment that I bought while I was at Lerotholi is still there,” he said.
He told the PAC that he did not personally buy the equipment but he delegated people he was working with who told him that the equipment had finally arrived.
“It is for this reason that I signed,” he said.

Hlomohang Majara, the registrar of the school who acted as the rector after Lebakae’s departure, said their research has shown that the payment was made to different companies yet the account number was just one.“That is why we are unable to say whose account number is that, so we are still working with the police to help us with investigations,” Majara said.
All in all there is no delivery note and there is no equipment, she said.

Lebakae said he does not know about the account numbers.
“The only thing I know is that the equipment was there when I was still at Lerotholi,” Lebakae said.
The PAC said further investigations are needed to find out what happened to the money.

The committee has already questioned college officials about M32 million that was allegedly transferred into South African accounts a few years ago.
Details of how that money was used and to whom it was transferred remain hazy.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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