Civil servants dip into account at will

Civil servants dip into account at will

MASERU- PIGGY bank. That’s probably how some officials in the Ministry of Sports and Gender viewed a bank account in which proceeds from hiring the Setsoto Stadium were deposited.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard how the officials who were members of the Stadium Management Board loaned themselves money from the account that was meant to help maintain the national stadium.

PAC chairman, Selibe Mochoboroane, fumed after learning that the special Stadium Account, was turned into a stokvel of sorts by the board members.
The Stadium Management Board’s role was to run the stadium through a manager.
Those who use the stadium pay fees into the account and present the proof of payment to the manager to open the gates.

What irked Mochoboroane is that the funds have never been used for the maintenance of the stadium but were loaned to the ministry’s employees when they travel abroad.
“I hear that you dip your hands into the stadium account whenever you have international trips,” Mochoboroane said.
“It is said you are extravagant with it and you give it to anybody of your choice whenever you feel like,” he said.

The acting Sports Director, ’Manneria Rabotšo, tried to justify the practice by saying the money is loaned to the employees to use as per diem and it is repaid when they come back.
Sam Rapapa, a PAC member, asked Rabotšo if she ever took an international trip and loaned herself from the account and she answered yes.
She was however quick to say she repaid the monies she withdrew from the account.

Rapapa’s next question was how much she took and she said she could not remember.
Rapapa put it to her that on one trip she was loaned more than M17 000 and that she repaid only M500.
Rabotšo had no answer.

Another PAC member, Thuso Litjobo, asked Rabotšo how much is paid to the stadium per event and she answered that it is M5 000.
Litjobo showed her that it is more than that.
The Deputy Principal Secretary ’Mabataung Khalane said prices change depending on the kind of activity and she agreed that it was more than M5 000.
thepost has independently found that religious activities, for example, pay more than M12 000.

“I was not aware that there was much money in the account,” Rabotšo said when asked why they dip into the account instead of taking from the ministry’s budget.
Mochoboroane said it did not matter whether there was a lot of money. What is important, he said, is that the money belongs to the government.
“You should deposit this money into the government’s consolidated fund,” Mochoboroane said.
“Are you aware that you are breaking Financial Regulations?”

Rabotšo said she was not aware that they were violating the law.
Nyapane Kaya, another PAC member, asked if she was overwhelmed by the questions.
Rabotšo said: “These questions are too heavy on me.”

She ended up saying the director at the time was one Mrs Moruthoane, who has since retired from the civil service.
Mochoboroane said Moruthoane has to be summoned.
Khalane informed the PAC that the account has since been closed.
Principal Secretary Tjoetsane Seoka was instructed to ensure that the ministry accounts for the monies. It was also found that the stadium has never been audited.

Staff Reporter

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