Ministry in trouble over King’s birthday funds

Ministry in trouble over King’s birthday funds

MASERU – The Ministry of Home Affairs has failed to explain how it spent M2.5 million that was allocated to it for the King’s birthday celebrations for 2014.
The coordinator of King’s birthday celebrations in 2014, Khahliso Seforo, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing this week that the ministry spent more than what had been budgeted.
He said while M2.3 million had been budgeted for the function, it appeared that M2.5 million was used instead.
The PAC demanded reasons that led to the overspending.

Seforo said she forgot to talk about the King’s birthday cake.
There was a deafening silence when Seforo made his presentation before the PAC coupled with a bit of uneasiness.
From the beginning, the PAC could not connect the dots about how the money was used because the figures were not ‘convincing’.

What came ostensibly clear was that some items were overpriced so that the PAC could have an impression that the money was used accordingly.
Seforo said there were 1 000 Very Important Persons (VIPs) who attended the function. It was later established however that there were just 820 people, who were each given a plate worth M250.
She said there were also some VIPs who were given a meal worth M150.

“We also bought wine for M7 000 and I’m not sure of the quantity because we made estimations based on the previous ceremonies,” Seforo said.
“We would only be sure after checking with our documents at the office,” she said.

But the PAC was determined to know the exact amount that was disbursed by Seforo and her team for the 2014 King birthday celebrations.
Seforo insisted that she was not sure of the money she used for the function.

Nyapane Kaya, one of PAC members, asked: “Does this mean that the money was misused and it is for this reason that you cannot be able to account for it?”
Kaya said the report that Seforo had presented before them was fallacious and full of flaws on all fronts.
He said the report was also laced with falsehoods and some elements of dishonesty.

Seforo plainly rejected charges that they misused the money allocated for the King’s birthday.
Selibe Mochoboroane in his capacity as the PAC chairperson said they could not admit the report because it was not factual.
Mochoboroane argued that there were many items that were used during the ceremony but were not mentioned in the report.

He said it was worrying because the report did not show how the money was fully disbursed but there were conspicuous signs that it was overspent.
The PAC then rejected the report instructing Seforo to return to the committee in five days’ time with a genuine report not the one she had presented.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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