PAC quizzes ex-police boss

PAC quizzes ex-police boss

MASERU-FORMER Commissioner of Police Kizito Mhlakaza was this week questioned by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) following allegations he had squandered over M500 000 from the police.
The committee summoned Mhlakaza to find out if it is true that he helped himself to the money from the police.
This, it is alleged, was in the form of loans he never paid back and some unjustified claims. Most of the money was paid in cash.

The allegations were made by a former police accountant, one Bereng, who told the PAC last year that Mhlakaza demanded to be paid those monies and said he would not pay them back.
Bereng said some of the money belonged to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) but did not explain how it ended up with the police.

Bereng made the allegations after intense questioning by the committee members.
He said Mhlakaza used to come to his office “more than twice a day requesting some unjustified monies that he never paid back”.

The committee had documents that seemed to indicate that Mhlakaza requested M12 000, M15 000 and M25 000 on May 17, 2012. The committee was also told that there was a time when Mhlakaza asked Bereng to bring cash-cheque to one hotel at night.

But Mhlakaza told the committee this week that all these are lies either concocted by jealous former colleagues or those who did not understand how he made the claims.
Mhlakaza told the committee that the only money he knew of is M30 000 that he has documents to support how he has used it.

He flatly denied that he has used the other monies Bereng claimed.
“I only have an idea about M30 000 which I also have the supporting documents but as for the rest I have no idea,” Mhlakaza said.
He also denied that he took a loan in 2012 saying to his knowledge he only took a loan in 2011.
Mhlakaza said there might be a misunderstanding because as the commissioner he had to sign for other people’s cheques.

He said this meant that “sometimes the cheque would be signed by me and be written Office of Commissioner yet I would be doing it for other people”.
This, he said, could have created an impression that he was taking the money for his own use.
He said another source of the “confusion” was per diem he used to claim.

“I used to take the cash for my per diem from the accountant and asked him to replace it with the cheque that is for my per diem. So the reason is that I never went back to the accountant when I returned from the trips,” he said.
Mhlakaza said when he returned from his trips, he never went back to the accounts office to check if he did as he ordered.

“These might be some of the reasons why it appears as if I have the unpaid loans from the ministry,” he said.
Mhlakaza said during his days as the police boss, many of his colleagues were jealous of him because he was commissioner while his wife Mahlape Marai Mhlakaza was Director at the Police Training College before she became the Director of Police Complaints Authority.

Mhlakaza said envy could be the reason some former colleagues are now accusing him of looting the police.
The committee said it was happy that he had come to give his side of the story.
“So we will not say much on all this. We just wanted the testimony from the former commissioner,” said PAC chairman, Selibe Mochoboroane.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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