LMDA staff sharpen anti-fraud systems

LMDA staff sharpen anti-fraud systems

MASERU – THE Lesotho Millennium Development Agency should strengthen anti-corruption systems, a senior Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) official has said.

Christopher Williams, the MCC’s Senior Director for Anti-Fraud and Corruption, was speaking this week at a three-day workshop to train LMDA staff on corruption and fraud.

Williams said the training was “held to reduce the risks of fraud and corruption in the agencies”.
He said “it will then focus on strengthening the LMDAs existing protections against corruption”.

“It will also ensure that all LMDA staff is ready to fulfil their responsibility to detect, report and prevent corrupt activities,” Williams said.
He urged the LMDA staff to be vigilant because “fraud and corruption can occur anywhere”.

The training comes barely four months after the LMDA called for services of private investigators to crack past malfeasances during the first compact signed between Lesotho and South Africa.
The LMDA said it had received reports that service providers engaged in acts of corruption and was advised that it should carry out its own internal investigations.

The LMDA management “considered that some of the issues that are investigated are complex and may require assistance of experienced and eligible private investigation bodies”.
He said the United States government requires all its departments and agencies to have a programme to reduce corrupt activities.

He said in most cases of fraud and corruption on development projects, “not only the tax-payers funds are misused but also there are fewer benefits flowing to the people”.

He further said if the funds that would be provided under the second Lesotho compact were lost to fraud and corruption, “the government of Lesotho would be required to reimburse the US government”.
“Not only the benefits of the project will be reduced, but Basotho taxpayer funds would be returned to the United States instead of meeting Basotho needs.’’

He said the training is the first step in the process of developing and implementing a corruption prevention programme.
Williams said this is the same kind of programme American companies doing business in other countries have been required to develop.

He said they are not interested in catching people in acts of fraud and corruption but they want to prevent fraud and corruption before they start.
He said they normally conduct research before engaging with countries.
They saw it worthy to provide the training in Lesotho because of what happened last time.

Williams said they both believe that with proper focus on anti-fraud and corruption, the two agencies can ensure the highest level of effective use of the US taxpayer resources that may fund the second compact.

Refiloe Mpobole


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