’Mokose gave ‘jobs to party supporters’

’Mokose gave ‘jobs to party supporters’

MASERU – A former private secretary to a minister, Lebohang Mochaba, dropped a bombshell in court on Tuesday when she alleged that her former boss recruited people based on political party affiliation.
Mochaba was the private secretary to Ralechate ’Mokose who was the Water Affairs Minister during the Pakalitha Mosisili-led government.

’Mokose is now Lesotho’s high commissioner to Canada.
Mochaba told the court that ’Mokose hired people based on their political affiliation when he served as a minister.
Mochaba made the shocking revelations during a court case in which three employees from the Ministry of Water Affairs are being charged with theft and corruption.

The three employees ’Mampoi Makhetha, Tlholohelo Makoloane and Karabelo Makoloane appeared before Magistrate Monyake Hlabanyane.
’Mampoi Makhetha and Tlholohelo Makoloane are accused of facilitating the fraudulent recruitment and payment of a ghost worker.

The then principal secretary, Khomoatsana Tau, earlier told the court that the ministry’s financial controller, Makhetha, misrepresented to him and made it appear as if he had recruited Karabelo Makoloane into the ministry.
The prosecution witness, Tau, told the court that Makhetha and the assistant accountant Tlhlohelo Makoloane acted in concert to defraud the ministry between September and December 2016.

According to the charge sheet, the three women defrauded the ministry a total of M19 654 which was paid to Karabelo Makoloane who had been recruited as an office assistant at the Treasury Department.
Tlholohelo Makoloane and Karabelo Makoloane are sisters.
Makhetha is said to have misrepresented to Tau to add Tlholohelo Makoloane, Tselane Nteko, Tlotlisang Lekhooa, Sajane Buthelezi and Mohlomi Khaahloe to the ministry’s system so that they could be paid as daily employees.

It was during this period that Makhetha and Tlholohelo Makoloane allegedly worked in concert to include Karabelo Makoloane on the list of those to be paid.
Karabelo Makolaoane was later fraudulently hired as an office assistant on a contract basis.

On Tuesday, Mochaba told the court that during her work as the minister’s private secretary, recruitment of new staff was made based on political party affiliation.
She said the hiring did not go through the Human Resources Manager.
The court heard that ’Mokose used to give Mochaba a list of names of people to be recruited by the ministry.

Efforts to get ’Mokose to comment on the allegations failed yesterday.
Mochaba informed the court that she would communicate with Tau to tell her whenever there was any existing vacancy in the ministry.
Procedurally, Mochaba said people have to apply for a job through the Human Resources Office whenever there is a vacancy.
She further stunned the court when she said posts were never advertised at the ministry.

“There was never a time when posts could come out for advertisements either in newspapers or radios. But spaces would be there and would be filled by politicians from the Democratic Congress (DC),” Mochaba said.
She told the court that in terms of payment, there was a time-sheet that was used to pay workers which was signed for by her or the supervisor.

During cross-examination by the defence lawyer, Advocate Letuka Molati, Mochaba told the court that were some people who were not employees of the ministry and who never went to work but still got paid.
Mochaba said she did not know about the actual number of employees who were employed at the ministry but would only recognise them facially.
Advocate Molati however argued that if Mochaba knew all the employees like she claimed, she should have not signed for the ghost workers who always got paid.

He said there was a name of Khothatso Ntšonyane who got paid monthly yet was not an employee at the ministry.
“The said Khothatso Ntšonyane did not even work there but received an amount of R14 500 from the ministry,” he said.
Adv Molati further said Tau, Ntšonyane and the Commissioner of Water Mokake Mojakisane were never charged for corruption but his clients were being accused of hiring their relatives.

He said his clients were being victimized after Makhetha refused to sign for a M90 million project which Tau wanted her to sign saying it was for projects.
Adv Molati said there was no File Movement Book at the ministry which indicated who worked there and how much they were being paid.

“No one can come here and testify that there are people who signed a contract with proof from the File Movement Book,” he said.
Mochaba conceded that ‘File Movement Book’ was unavailable and with its absence “no one will be able to notify casual workers who signed a contract”.
She also admitted to the presence of ghost employees.

Itumeleng Khoete

 

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