Big boost for  anti-corruption crusade

Big boost for anti-corruption crusade

MASERU – Lesotho’s fight against fraud, tax evasion and other corrupt business practices received a major boost this week after four institutions signed a cooperation agreement.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is expected to give a fresh impetus to the country’s fight against corrupt business practices.

The institutions that signed the deal are the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA), Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS), Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO).
Previously only the LRA, DCEO and LMPS were in a tripartite agreement to fight economic crimes.

The new Memorandum of Understanding has now roped in the Financial Intelligence Unit, a unit that tracks illicit movement of cash.
The MOU was signed by LRA Commissioner General Thabo Khasipe, Commissioner of Police Holomo Molibeli, Acting Director General DCEO Sefako Seema and Acting Director FIU Jothane Phakisi.

LRA Public Relations and Communication Manager, Phehello Mphana, said the MoU will heighten efficiency and effectiveness in the administration and enforcement of the law to combat corruption, tax evasion and fraud.
It will also help coordinate, harmonise strategies and complement the efforts of the institutions in fighting corruption.

“The institutions wish to co-ordinate their efforts within the framework of the mandates assigned to them, in terms of their constitutive statutes and in line with the provisions of the laws they administer and enforce, in order to avoid duplication of efforts,” Mphana said.
“The institutions agree that consistent with their separate roles, they will provide to each other the fullest mutual assistance within the framework of this MOU and as authorised by law in relation to the co-ordination, co-operation and mutual assistance in enforcement actions, investigations, preventive programmes and exchange of confidential or protected information” Mphana said.

He said the institutions had agreed to help each other in preventative programmes, investigations, enforcement actions and operations for their common good.
They will also pledged to conduct joint investigative, preventive and enforcement programmes in their push against economic crimes.
The MoU states that the institutions agree that full and timely exchange of information and intelligence is a crucial element for each institution if it is to effectively carry out its responsibilities.

“The institutions agree that, subject to the legal process and or legislative restrictions placed on each institution regarding the release of confidential or protected information, information available to one institution which is relevant to the responsibilities of the other party will be shared as requested,” Mphana said.

“It is the belief of the quartet institutions that this memorandum will go a long way in serving the Basotho nation and providing the much needed harmony which is extremely critical. More importantly, while three of the institutions have been here before, this day marks the inclusion of the FIU in the co-operation.”

Lemohang Rakotsoane

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