Tender scandal rocks army

Tender scandal rocks army

MASERU – THE Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) awarded a huge tender to supply military attire to two unregistered companies two years ago, thepost heard this week.
The revelation was disclosed during a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing on Monday.
The companies did not even have traders’ licences.

Maposholi Mosothoane, who had bid for the army tender, lost the tender but did not know the reason.
She told the PAC that the army tender was mired in controversy between the army and the bidders.
Mosothoane said after the successful bidders were announced, she approached the army and demanded answers why she had lost.
She said she conducted her own investigations and found out that the two companies that had been awarded the tender did not even have traders’ licence while the third company was owned by the Chinese.

Based on her findings, she said she investigated to find the criterion that had been used by the army in the tendering process.
She said she suspected that there was some form of corruption in the process.
“I approached the Ministry of Trade asking them to do their evaluation because I wanted to know how the process had been carried out,” Mosothoane said.

She said she also wanted the tender panel to give them chance to come with their samples so that they could see if we really knew the work we have bid for.
The then Principal Secretary of Trade told me that the army wanted their uniform so I should not delay, the PAC heard.

Ts’eliso Mokoko, who is the current Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, said Mosothoane’s case could be settled but not in the PAC.
PAC chairman Selibe Mochoboroane said now that Mosothoane has brought her case before the PAC, she should be told why the unregistered companies were given the tenders when it was unlawful to do so.

The procurement manager, Makhoabenyane, said Mosothoane wanted so many things and it is for this reason that they did not reach an agreement to give her the job.
“She wanted the experiences of other people. She also wanted to know the competence of other companies and their experiences,” Makhoebenyane said.
“The other thing is that the companies we have given tenders were complying with the specifications we wanted,” he added.

The PAC said they suspected some corruption in the awarding of the tender.
Machoboroane said their spirits have been dampened by the fact that institutions that they were hoping would set a good example were the ones that were deeply involved in corrupt practices.
He said they have also uncovered some rot within the police.

He said this is disappointing when it is practiced by the army.
Mochoboroane told the army that they should lead by example and not dabble in criminal practices.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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