Public works PS investigated

Public works PS investigated

MASERU – PUBLIC Works principal secretary Mothabathe Hlalele is being investigated by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO).

The DCEO spokeswoman ’Matlhokomelo Senoko confirmed to thepost that Hlalele is being investigated for possible malfeasance.

However, Senoko declined to disclose what Hlalele could have done.
Hlalele declined to comment.
President of the Senate, ’Mamonaheng Mokitimi, told this paper that she only recalls that Hlalele is being probed in connection with the questionable contracts of the building of the Senate House.

“That is all I know, unless if there is any other thing he is being investigated for,” Mokitimi said.
A parliament portfolio committee led by the All Basotho Convention (ABC) proportional representation MP, ’Matšepo Ramakoae, found that Hlalele was in contempt of the High Court order.

The portfolio committee investigated allegations of corruption against Hlalele and other officials in the ministry in connection with the M140 million senate building tender which has so far failed to take off since bids were opened six years ago.

The senate building construction, which should be atop Mpilo Hill alongside parliament building, was first won by a Chinese firm Yan Jian in 2016 but Hlalele ordered reevaluation of the tender in 2017 after he was appointed the PS.
Hlalele’s reasons were that some companies that had tendered for the same job were unfairly disqualified.

The job was given to another Chinese firm Qing Jian, which had been disqualified in 2012 together with a local company Sigma Construction and China Shanxi Construction.

Ramakoae found that these companies were correctly disqualified in 2012.
It is understood that the DCEO is probing Hlalele for giving the job to Qing Jian under questionable circumstances.
The High Court had earlier found that Yan Jian was not given the contract although it had won the tender because the 2016 principal secretary ordered that the project be re-tendered.

Other participants in the tender had sued Yan Jian and won the case.
When the government changed and Hlalele was appointed the principal secretary for the ministry, he openly defied the court order, according to Ramakoae’s finding.

Ramakoae said Hlalele “made a unilateral decision to order the re-evaluation of the tender”.
“This act is tantamount to a bare contempt of court emanating from a chief accounting officer who is expected to respect and observe the rule of law of the land.’’

Staff Reporter

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