Dodgy tender lands ex-top cops in the dock

Dodgy tender lands ex-top cops in the dock

MASERU -THE corruption case involving some former senior police officers continued this week, with a witness telling the court how she was allegedly forced to sign for contracts above her pay grade.
The ex-top cops are accused of fraudulently awarding a tender for uniforms to Linare Clothing (Pty) Ltd.
High Court judge, Justice Sakoane Sakoane, is presiding over the matter.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Tumelo Moseme and two Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs) Dlamini Mphatšoane and Thakane Theko are being charged alongside the Director of New Vision suppliers (PTY) Ltd and Linare Clothing (Pty) Ltd, Rebecca Makhalemele.

They are charged with corruption, fraud, bribery, defeating the course of justice and unlawful possession of police uniforms.
Superintendent Selloane Fobo, a crown witness who testified against the police officers on Monday, talked about the alleged rot at the police procurement office.
Superintendent Fobo, who was stationed in the Procurement Office at police headquarters at the time of the alleged crimes, said she was forced to sign a contract by Moseme.
She told the court on Monday that Moseme forced her to sign a police camouflage contract as a witness even though she had no authority to do so.
Supt Fobo informed the court that Moseme told her to sign the contract as there was no one else in the office who could co-sign the contract as a witness.
Supt Fobo, who is now on retirement, told the court that she was called by Moseme to his office enquiring about the procedure regarding the signing of contracts.
“I told him contracts are signed by high ranking authorities like Principal Secretaries but if they are not there he could sign as he had authority to do so,” she said.
Moseme proceeded to sign the contract as the Principal Secretary was unavailable at the time, the court heard.
She said Moseme further asked her who else could sign as a witness.
“I told him I did not know because (according) to the first contract similar to that one, where he signed (it was) was supposed to be the Commissioner of Police as the witness would be his deputy,” she said.

She said she told Moseme that since he had signed where the Commissioner was supposed to sign, she did not know who then could sign as a witness.
She said her former boss asked her to sign as the witness but she told him that there was another officer who could sign.
“But he declined and insisted that I should sign as the officer,” she told the court.
She told the court that she had to take orders from Moseme since he was her superior but was unhappy at being forced to sign the contract because she had no authority to do so.
She said during the awarding of the tender, the accused police officers were members of the evaluation team who were working in the office of ACP Mphatšoane.
Mphatšoane is cited as the second accused in the case.

Supt Fobo told the court that standard practice would be that the evaluation is done by people with no relationship to bidders.
“Procedurally, companies bidding for tenders bring along their samples and those samples are given numbers without company names which are used during the evaluation process,” she said.
The best company would be chosen by the number given to it, Supt Fobo told the court.
The evaluation team awarded the contract to Linare Clothing (Pty) Ltd.
Advocate Woker, prosecuting, described the entire tender process as a sham.

The court was made to believe that legal tender processes were adhered to and yet they were flawed, said Advocate Woker.
Cross examining the witness, Advocate Motiea Teele, who is representing Moseme, insisted that all relevant procedures were followed, saying there was no evidence of irregularities.
“From what I got from the witness, nothing fishy happened,” he told the court.
When asked whether she believed the whole tendering process was a sham, Supt Fobo said she did not see it as a sham at the time of signing but now saw things differently as a result of information divulged in court.
The case continues on August 22.

Itumeleng Khoete & Thooe Ramolibeli

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