Two civil servants in soup over ghost worker

Two civil servants in soup over ghost worker

MASERU – TWO employees of the Ministry of Water Affairs are in hot water for allegedly facilitating the fraudulent recruitment and payment of a ghost worker.
Former principal secretary for the ministry, Khomoatsana Tau, who is currently working in the Ministry of Development Planning, has testified in the magistrate’s court where the trio faces fraud charges.

Tau told magistrate Monyake Hlabanyane on Tuesday that the ministry’s financial controller ’Mampoi Makhetha misrepresented to him and made it appear as if he recruited Karabelo Makoloane in the ministry.
The prosecution witness, Tau, told the court that Makhetha and the assistant accountant Tlhlohelo Makoloane acted in concert to defraud the ministry between September and December 2016.
According to the charge sheet, the three women defrauded the ministry of M19 654 with which they paid Karabelo Makoloane whom they described as the ministry’s office assistant at the Treasury Department.

Tlholohelo Makoloane and Karabelo Makoloane are sisters.
Makhetha is said to have misrepresented to Tau by asking access for Tlholohelo Makoloane, Tselane Nteko, Tlotlisang Lekhooa, Sajane Buthelezi and Mohlomi Khaahloe to the ministry’s system as daily paid employees.

It was during this period that Makhetha and Tlholohelo Makoloane allegedly worked in concert to include Karabelo Makoloane on the list of those to be paid.
Karabelo Makolaoane was later fraudulently hired as an office assistant on a contract basis.
Karabo Makoloane is related to Tlholohelo Makoloane.

Tau, under cross-examination by Advocate Letuka Molati, said the fraud happened in the ministry in 2016 for the months of September to December.
Makhetha and the Makoloane sisters are accused of having “acted together without lawful authority to produce a document purporting to be a Lesotho government contract in the ministry thus committing the offence of forgery of official material”.

The case has been remanded to December 14 to 24.
This case is heard at a time when the Ministry of Public Service is on a programme to re-register all government employees in an effort to weed out ghost workers.
The project is currently being conducted in the four districts of Berea, Leribe, Mafeteng and Mohale’s Hoek.

The project was started in April last year when the current Home Affairs Minister Tsukutlane Au was still the Public Service Minister.
Previously a principal secretary for the same ministry, Au had realised that unless all civil servants are re-registered ghost employees would continue haunting the civil service.
Au laid the foundation for a comprehensive audit of all civil servants in a bid to weed out ghost workers.

To facilitate the process, the Ministry of Public Service has asked all civil servants to register for National Identity cards.
The IDs for civil servants will enable the government to determine the exact number of civil servants and stop payments to ghost workers.
The decision to weed out ghost workers will help slash the civil service wage bill which the government says has veered off course.
Lesotho’s civil servants were asked to register for IDs in October 2016.The exercise was scheduled to end on January 31 2017 before the headcount could begin in April but the project was thwarted by snap elections that saw the change of government in June.

Civil servants who don’t have a national ID is helped to apply and acquire it through the office of human resources in his department.
The civil servants are not required to go to the National Identity and Civil Registry (NICR) offices but apply right in their departments’ human resources offices.
With all civil servants registered with the NICR it will be easy for the government to know who it is paying and whether that one is its employee or not.
This will make it easy for the government to count its employees.

The collected data of all government employees will be stored in the pay system and anybody who will not appear in it will be erased from the payroll.
Public Service Minister Joang Molapo has urged all civil servants to make sure they are registered for the IDs.

Senate Sekotlo

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