Plan to weed out old age pension cheats

Plan to weed out old age pension cheats

MASERU – FINANCE Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro says efforts are underway to weed out individuals who are fraudulently receiving old age pensions. Majoro made the remarks while delivering his 2017/18 budget speech in parliament yesterday.
He said the 2016 population and housing census indicates that there are 70 000 citizens aged 70 years and above yet there are 86 000 individuals who are on the old age pension payroll.

He said this raises “the question of how since the advent of the pension scheme, 16 000 people have found their way onto the pension payroll”.
“Corruption remains a serious challenge not only in Lesotho but globally as well,” Majoro said.
“Good governance, rule of law and the fight against corruption are the cornerstones of any progressive society,” he said.
Majoro said for the past two years the government had invested in strengthening the capacity of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) in forensic investigation technology infrastructure.

He said this year the government is increasing the DCEO budget by 40 percent “to help it have some teeth”.
“The Directorate stepped up its effort in the fight against corruption by engaging a multi-sectoral approach through the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan,” Majoro said.

“Asset forfeiture has been introduced as a strategy towards ensuring that crime does not pay,” he said.
“Arrangements are at an advanced stage for the declaration of assets by public officials and I hope that this Honourable House will file their declarations before the end of September 2017,” he said.

Majoro also said his ministry is going to step up the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism through development of clear policies.
The policies will help immensely in putting corruption at bay, he said. “Government will pass new procurement legislation to eliminate corruption including to prevent public servants from tendering for government contracts,” the minister said.

He warned his colleagues in the cabinet “not to be tempted to involve themselves directly in the procurement process and to remember that as ministers, our role is political direction and general supervision of our ministries”. “The Bidvest Bank fleet decision is one spectacular example of how far things can go wrong when cabinet is directly involved in procurement decisions,” he said.

Staff Reporter

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