M11 million ‘vanishes’ at LMPS

M11 million ‘vanishes’ at LMPS

MASERU – A STAGGERING M11 million that was budgeted for the 2012 General Elections faded into thin air from the police’s hands, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard yesterday.
The police bosses failed to explain to the PAC how the money was used.
The Auditor General’s Office said the M11 million was meant to help the police efficiently cover the elections around the country.

The police district commanders were given the money to disburse to different constituencies in their respective jurisdictions.
Lucy Liphafa, the Auditor General, says there were some serious financial flaws in how the money was used.
In the hot-seat was Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli who was accompanied by the police management as they sought to explain what could have happened to the money.
The then police accountant, Tumisang Bereng, said he was ordered by his bosses to transfer the money to different senior superintendents in their districts.
And he did not know how that money was used.

“I only did my part as I was directed by my bosses from headquarters but I did not have any idea as to how the money was used,” Bereng said.
The PAC chairperson Selibe Mochoboroane asked Commissioner Molibeli if he has any idea what could have happened to the money and the steps he has taken to recover the cash.
Molibeli told the PAC that he was not aware that there was such a lot of money that went up in smoke in police hands in 2012.

“I also did not want to interfere because I have heard that the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) is still working on this case,” Molibeli said.
The former district commander of Mafeteng, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mpota Nthako, said his office has accounted for the money they were given.
He said they had since sent proofs back to the police headquarters.

ACP ‘Matšepang Ramarikhoana, from the police headquarters, said they too have accounted for the money allocated to them.
Mochoboroane told the commissioner that they are looking at what measures he will take after it became clear that the police had siphoned public funds.
He said it is very embarrassing to discover that the police are the ones misusing government funds.

He said it is disgusting to find that the police are at the helm of insidious corruption when they were the ones who have been mandated to curb it.
Mochoboroane told the commissioner to crack down on crime by ensuring that suspects are brought before the courts of law.
He said they have put the commissioner under the spotlight.

Senior ACP Shekoe Sebutsoe however told the PAC that it was his office which ordered the LMPS accountant to transfer money to senior superintendents because his office was unable to buy the needed equipment for all the officers around the country during the elections.
He said he is in possession of documents which show how the money was disbursed though they are not complete.

Based on his explanation, the PAC gave ACP Sebutsoe 12 hours to bring the receipts that would show how the money was used.
He promised to bring the documents although he said he was not sure if he would get all of them.
He said he was aware that some money had been embezzled by the police but did not want to interfere with the DCEO investigations.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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