Suspended DCEO boss says he’s broke

Suspended DCEO boss says he’s broke

MASERU – SUSPENDED Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) boss, Attorney Mahlomola Manyokole, says his legal battles with the government have left him broke.
He told thepost this week that his legal battles have financially ruined him and he cannot afford to hire a lawyer.
He wants the government to pay his lawyer like it did when the Court of

Appeal President Justice Kananelo Mosito was fighting the government’s attempt to impeach him.
The government has however refused to help him pay the legal fees, meaning he will have to pay his lawyer when he appears before a tribunal set up to investigate his suitability to lead the DCEO.

Since last year Manyokole has been fighting the government’s efforts to remove him as DCEO boss. He has already lost a High Court case and a Court of Appeal case, which paved the way for the government to set up a tribunal of three charges to investigate his fitness to lead the anti-corruption unit.

At the same time, he faces two criminal cases. In the first case, whose pre-trial conference is scheduled for the end of September, Manyokole is accused of stealing M82 000 from the DCEO and money laundering.
The second case involves charges of abuse of office.
The two civil cases he lost cost nearly M100 000 in legal fees, an amount he says he could not afford despite that he is still getting his salary and benefits.

In the meantime, he had to find lawyers to fight the criminal cases.
On Monday, Manyokole appeared before the tribunal but the case was postponed to next Monday to give him time to prepare his defence.
He told the tribunal that apart from refusing to pay his legal fees, the government has also blocked his access to documents in his office and witnesses at the DCEO.

“I told them that I have High Court cases that have exhausted me,” he said.
Manyokole said he also asked the Prime Minister for permission to get documents that will support his case at the DCEO offices “because the employees there are not allowed to talk to me”.
After the Prime Minister failed to help him, he pleaded with the tribunal which promised to help mediate so that he gets the documents to support his defence.

“I also want some employees to be my witnesses against these charges. They said it is my right to get those,” he said.
He said some people say he should not be given the documents because this is not a criminal case “but section 12 of the constitution provides that I should get a fair trial”.
He is apprehensive that he might not get a fair trial because the government has its “limitless financial resources to hire three prominent lawyers to prosecute my case at the tribunal”.

It’s an unfair situation because I am an individual trying to defend myself against a government that has all the resources at its disposal, he said.
The list of charges includes negligence, arising from allegations that he allegedly caused a case to be dissolved, which led to a prosecutor withdrawing from the case.

“That the prosecutor withdrew was not my fault,” he told thepost.
As head of the anti-corruption body, he was responsible for ensuring proper investigation of cases before handing them over to the prosecutorial authorities, according to the charges.
Attorney Manyokole is also accused of failing to investigate a case against former Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) boss, ’Matefo Makhalemele, over a case involving the acquisition of the LCS uniforms.

He is also accused of withdrawing a case in which former Finance Minister Dr ’Mamphono Khaketla was allegedly involved in a government fleet hire scandal that ultimately led to the fall of the Pakalitha Mosisili administration.
He is accused of taking the action without bothering to consult the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
“But this one may be coming from the DPP, I do not know about it at all,” Manyokole said.

He was also charged with failing to install systems in the investigations department at the DCEO and failing to give parliament a report of his work.
His other charge is that he unlawfully sent his secretary on leave.
Attorney Manyokole is also accused of destroying a case against the former boss of the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA), Tšeliso ’Mokela. The case involved alleged financial mismanagement.
“They say I have ruined it by refusing to give them dockets,” he said.
Attorney Manyokole is also charged with failure to charge Teboho Tlokotsi, a director of Silverstone Fleet Solutions, a company that allegedly was awarded the government fleet supply tender fraudulently.

This charge stemmed from the DCEO’s top investigator Thabiso Thibeli’s testimony before the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The PAC was given an indication that Attorney Manyokole did not take the case to court because it involved Likeleli Tampane, now Sports Minister, who was then a Democratic Congress backbencher.

The case, the PAC was made to believe, was a hot potato in Attorney Manyokole’s hands as it involved Finance Principal Secretary Motena Tšolo and another top official, ’Mafusi Mosamo.
They are alleged to have been part of a syndicate that received bribes ranging from M2 000 to M40 000 from people who wanted to lease their vehicles to the government.

The tribunal came after Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro suspended Attorney Manyokole on allegations of incompetence amongst other charges.
The gazette appointing High Court Justices Teboho Moiloa, Semapo Peete, and Polo Banyane was issued earlier this year to probe his suitability to hold the DCEO top job.

They were instructed to investigate Attorney Manyokole and make recommendations to the Prime Minister as to whether or not he should be kicked out.
After completing the investigations, the tribunal was instructed to release a report with recommendations to the Prime Minister within eight weeks.

Nkheli Liphoto

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