Mochoboroane orders arrest of top officials

Mochoboroane orders arrest of top officials

MASERU – PUBLIC Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Selibe Mochoboroane on Tuesday ordered the arrest of three local government officials who had allegedly misled the committee. Berea District Council Secretary ’Mathabang Tlali, Principal Technical Officer Mosebi Mokhubu and an Economic Planner Ntsotiseng Motaung were led from parliament by the police.

This came barely a week after Mochoboroane ordered the arrest of ’Maliteboho Makhoali, an official in the Ministry of Education’s Education Facilities Unit, for a similar offence. The Local Government officials told the PAC that they used M9 million of the M20 million allocated last year for development projects.

When Mochoboroane asked them what happened to the remaining M11 million they said they constructed gravel roads connecting villages of Tsereoane Council. The officials were about to leave when Tšepang Motselekatse, a councillor for Senekane Do7, stormed parliament and told the committee that their information was not true. Motselekatse said he had been sent by the villagers to inform the committee that it had been given false information.

He said it was not true that roads were constructed in the villages. Motselekatse told the committee that they still struggle to ferry their sick to health centres. He later told thepost that the council had agreed to construct roads in his Electoral Division (ED) but was surprised when villages of Tsereoane Thabeng, Ha-Makoanyane and Ha-Mathebekoane were skipped.

He said the Teya-Teyaneng District Administrator’s explanation was that those villages were not included on the map of the area that was supposed to get roads. “We were only surprised when we saw Local Government officials before the PAC saying they have constructed roads in our ED,” Motselekatse said.

Mochoboroane took the committee to the village for inspection and they found no roads connecting the villages as the councillor had said.
The committee members found the villagers already waiting for them. Mochoboroane then called the three officials back to parliament where he instructed the sergeant-at-arms and the police to arrest them.

Mochoboroane said the law states that anyone who deliberately lies or gives false information to parliament or any of its committees is liable to a fine of M1 000 or one year imprisonment. The three managed to pay M1 000 each and were released.
The officials however told thepost yesterday that they did not lie to the PAC but had been misunderstood.

“There is ample evidence that we used the public funds where they were supposed to be used and we built all roads that were on our map,” Tlali said.
“You can go to all those areas and see for yourself that we built roads.”
Mokhubu gave detailed information of how the money was used and why Tsereoane Thabeng, Ha-Makoanyane and Ha-Mathebekoane villages were skipped.

Mokhubu said the Tsereoane Electoral Division (ED) had 7.1 kilometres of roads that were supposed to be constructed. He said he started with the 2.2km road joining the Main North 1 from Ha-Souru then a 2.8km road to Fusi ACL Secondary School.
From there he constructed a 1.5km road from the Main North 1 to Senyotong Government School and a 1.7km road passing in front of Palace Hotel to Thabana-Tšooana. He also built a 2.5km road from the Main North 1 to Sekhutloaneng.

The total length came to 10.7km which he said was wrong because he had budgeted for 7.1km.
“I reported this to the Principal Secretary and the minister because I was not supposed to exceed the limits and I was pardoned,” he said.
Mokhubu said the three villages were “totally out of my map and therefore I could not build any road for them”.
He said Motselekatse, the councillor, “had deliberately listed them on the list of villages that I was supposed to build roads for but I only noticed this abnormality late”.

“I had already exceeded my limits by 3.6 kilometres,” he said.
Mokhubu, in answering what happened to the M11 million, said he spent over M1.7 million on activities that included setting out of horizon and vertical alignment, site clearance and cut to level, watering and compaction, excavation and haul gravel, and construction of six standard drifts or cross drainages.

He also said the money was spent in construction of bridges between Ha-Rapholo and Ha-Saremone which is now 98 percent complete.
Another bridge is between Ha-Rapholo and Ha-Kubere which is now complete.
There is another bridge between Ha-Kubere and Papalala, which is 75 percent complete.
“These are just small bridges,” he said.

Big ones include the one between Mafotholeng and Qalaheng whose construction has just started.
Another one is between Ha-Paape and Ha-Makhoebe, which started recently.
“As for the Mabekenyane ED, all drainages for all roads have not been constructed,” he said.

Staff Reporter

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