Ministry fails to pick up M88k rental deposit

Ministry fails to pick up M88k rental deposit

MASERU – THE Ministry of Justice and Correctional Service was on Tuesday grilled by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) after it failed to collect a rental deposit of M88 000 from a former landlord. The PAC heard that sometime in 2015, the ministry entered into a deal to rent Mafike House in Maseru and gave the landlord M88 000 as part of a security deposit.
The ministry would pick up the money in the event that there were no damages at the end of the contract.

However, in February 2015 the Ministry of Justice moved out of the house. The landlord, whose name was not divulged during the hearing, never reimbursed the ministry the security deposit.
A 2016 report by the Auditor General slammed the ministry’s top brass for squandering government’s money.

The Lesotho Correctional Service deputy commissioner, Motingoe Phamotse, said they left Mafike House at short-notice “because the owners wanted their buildings”.
He said they did not have enough time to discuss the money in question because they had to evacuate the premises swiftly.
The PAC asked what initiatives they have made to recover the money because they left the building way back in 2015.

The committee argued that even in 2016 when the Auditor General compiled the report the same query was still there.
The MP for Mechachane constituency, Nyapane Kaya, who is also the PAC member said “it’s been ages since they left the building but even today there is no money”.

“Does this mean you are leaving this money like that or is it because it is not yours or for your families? I think it is for this reason that you decided to let it go that way,” Kaya asked.
He said they have realised that almost all the ministries do not care about the money allocated to them by Parliament.
Kaya said the carelessness gave birth to a high rate of unemployment and poverty.

“But you still seem to ignore all that,” he said.
Phamotse said they wrote a letter dated 7th April 2016 to the landlord that they wanted their refund from the building.
He said he has a copy of the letter with him.

Phamotse told the PAC that they have been chasing after the refund to date.
He said they have not backed down and would never do so until they recover it.
The PAC chairperson, Selibe Mochoboroane, told the ministry that they should account for every cent allocated to them for the benefit of the nation.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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