I won’t resign, says Sello

I won’t resign, says Sello

MASERU- Beleaguered Mining Minister Keketso Sello says he is not going to resign despite his troubles because Prime Minister Thomas Thabane is happy with his work.
Sello was responding to loud calls that he should resign after his private secretary, Refiloe Mokone, was caught in South Africa allegedly smuggling a parcel of diamonds.
The Hawks also arrested three men who were with Mokone.
She was using a car allocated to the minister. Those pushing for his exit point to his proximity to Mokone and the fact that she was using one of his cars.

But a defiant Sello told the thepost this week that he doesn’t feel he should resign because of Mokone’s arrest. He said those demanding his resignation should hold their horses because they are not his employers.

“Who are they? They should not be interfering with my employment matters because the one who employed me (Prime Minister) already knows but he did not expel me because there is no reason for that,” Sello said.

He said he will not be pushed to take the fall for a person who made her own decision.
Mokone, the minister said, will have her day in court like other suspects.
“No one is above the law, we have HR and lawyers that will advise us on what to do next with her,” he said.
Sello said people should take responsibility for their actions.

“People know the difference between good and bad; therefore to stop this from happening again we will talk to them not to do it.”
“People choose to do unlawful things just like these ones. This should be a lesson to other employees that actions like this one are very dangerous,” Sello added.
The minister’s push-back comes after three NGOs issued a statement saying he should “do the honourable thing and resign”.
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Policy Analysis and Research Institute of Lesotho (PARIL) and Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) said Mokone’s arrest reflects badly on the minister’s ability to safeguard Lesotho’s minerals.

“Even if the minister is not directly implicated in the smuggling of diamonds by his private secretary, it is important to note that he is the one who recruited the now suspected diamond smuggler to the ministry in the first place,” the statement said.

“Such a blunder does not give us comfort that the minister will not commit similar errors in executing his mandate of being a custodian of resource governance in Lesotho,” the statement states.
The organisations also called on the Prime Minister to establish a commission of inquiry “to investigate all irregularities and mismanagement within the extractive industry in Lesotho”.
“There are many incidents of conflict of interest, violation of Minerals Act of 2005 and Environmental Act 2008 that require full investigation and those found to have abused their powers or been negligent should be held personally accountable.”

Sello has been battling to push as much distance as possible between him and Mokone.
Days after the arrest he flew back from a holiday in Mozambique and quickly rejected any insinuations that he could have been involved. He said although the car used belonged to his fleet he had not instructed Mokone to use it to cross the border.
The NGO called this response an “utter abdication of responsibility on the part of the minister”.

Nkheli Liphoto

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