Tampane cries foul

Tampane cries foul

…Says she was tricked into a corrupt deal….

MASERU – THE Democratic Congress (DC)’s Senqu MP, Likeleli Tampane, says she was tricked into participating in a syndicate that received bribes from people who wanted the government to hire their vehicles.

Tampane, a former minister, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday that she was unaware that the scheme was corrupt.
She said she believed she was working with a legitimate car hire company.
She said Teboho Tlokotsi, the alleged mastermind of the scheme, approached her at Wimpy and said he was looking for people who wanted to hire their cars to the government.

Tampane said she understood that Tlokotsi was acting as a middleman and she agreed to find MPs who wanted in on the opportunity.

She then approached several MPs who agreed to give their cars to Tlokotsi.
Tampane and Tlokotsi are among the five people who are now being investigated in connection with the sleaze. The principal secretary of Finance, Motena Tšolo, is also been fingered in the scandal.

So are ’Mafusi Mosamo, a senior official in the Ministry of Finance, and one Tumo Ramonaheng who touts himself as a an entrepreneur.
The five are alleged to have received as much a M40 000 per car from people who wanted to lease their vehicles to the government.

Last week Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO)’s chief investigator, Thabiso Thibeli, told the PAC that he was about to take the five to court in July when he was suspended.

Thibeli said he believes that DCEO boss, Mahlomola Manyokole, suspended him on flimsy charges to sabotage the case because he has links with some of the suspects. Manyokole has denied the allegations, saying Thibeli’s suspension had nothing to do with the case and he only took the dockets to review the case.

The committee has demanded that the suspects be taken to court. Tampane said she is embarrassed that her attempt to help MPs been “misinterpreted” and is now the subject of an investigation. She said she is shocked that she is being accused of corruption.

“I am embarrassed that the issue is misinterpreted,” Tampane said.
“I told him I could talk to Honourable Members who had cars that could be hired out.” She said she received a call from one Mokeretla’s wife, ’Mammuso, who said she had a vehicle.

Tampane said Tlokotsi later told her that those who had vehicles should bring M2 000 per car “for registration purposes”. “I personally paid for Mokeretla,” she said, adding that she was unaware that she was being hoodwinked into a corrupt deal.

She said she and ’Mammuso met Tlokotsi at Wimpy and they paid him.
She said ’Mammuso asked for a receipt but Tlokotsi said they would get it after vehicle’s registration.

“I was of the impression that some companies do hire vehicles and I did not investigate or ask Tlokotsi many questions.” Meanwhile Tlali Sefako, who claims to have been a victim of the syndicate, told the committee that he paid Tlokotsi M40 000 to get his vehicle hired.

Sefako said a friend introduced him to Tlokotsi. He said Tlokotsi told him that his vehicle will be hired but asked if he wanted to pay his ‘facilitation fees’ per month or once off. He said he paid Tlokotsi M40 000 during a meeting at Lerotholi Polytechnic (Fokothi).

“I have a witness who was there when I paid at Fokothi,” Sefako said.
“I do not have receipts, I paid with cash,” he said, adding that the reason he had to have a witness was because Tlokotsi did not give him any receipts.
Sefako said his vehicle was taken to Mejametalana Airbase for a month and but was later returned.

Last week Tlokotsi told the PAC that he was not part of the syndicate. He said the DCEO had launched the probe to sabotage his business.

Nkheli Liphoto

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