Key laptop stolen at Home Affairs

Key laptop stolen at Home Affairs

MASERU – A laptop with crucial information on a controversial contract to supply park homes to the Home Affairs Ministry has been stolen.
The Office of the Auditor General confirmed to thepost last night that the laptop, which was being kept at the ministry, has been stolen.

The Auditor General deployed auditors at the Ministry of Home Affairs to investigate the possible rot involving a company owned by a former adviser to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, Yan Xie.
Three laptops were used by the auditors to audit the ministry after officials at the ministry appeared before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last year.
The PAC was investigating how the ministry procured funds for park homes. The park homes were procured under a M7 million contract that was controversially won by a Chinese national called Yan ‘John’ Xi using some locals.

It was while investigations were still going on that the laptop was stolen.
Surprisingly, the room in which the laptop was being kept was not broken into, according to close sources.
It is understood that the laptop had critical information that was used to carry out the investigations.
Sources said the matter was reported to the Maseru Central Police station.

The Auditor General Office’s spokesperson, ’Matšepo Mohau, said all the required procedures were being followed to establish what happened.
Mohau could not comment further. The Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, ’Machabana Lemphane-Letsie, said the question of whether the lap top has disappeared has no relevance to her.
“A lot of properties disappear here, so why should l account for the laptop?” she said.

“If it was a government property there should be a loss report. But since it is a property belonging to an individual I do not have to be held accountable,” she said.
Lemphane-Letsie said the auditors were deployed at the ministry since 2008.
“And these people came to the ministry at our invitation,” she said.
She said even now the auditors are still at her ministry.

“I am not a police woman who investigates thefts,” Lemphane-Letsie said.
She insisted that it was unfair to ask her questions when property which belonged to an individual was stolen at the ministry.
“What is the relevance of the question? I really do not understand it. If a personal property is stolen here, should l account for that?” she thundered.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said he was not aware of the incident.

Majara Molupe

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