Pension Fund bosses grilled

Pension Fund bosses grilled

MASERU – THE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this week grilled Lesotho Pension Fund boss, Thabo Ramochele, over financial irregularities at the institution. The committee wanted the Pension Fund officials to specifically explain how M3.2 million went missing in Mafeteng in December 2016.

The money was meant to pay for the Old Age Pension, the Africa Pioneer Corps and Lesotho Liberation Army members.
There were 5 352 elderly people who were supposed to have been paid in Mafeteng.

The PAC heard that in Maputsoe, there were 6 946 elderly people who were to be paid.
The committee found that M1.1 million was budgeted for the elderly in Maputsoe.

Mochoboroane wanted to know why the budget for Mafeteng’s 5 352 pensioners was lower that Maputsoe’s 6 946.
The Pension Fund officials were however not able to give clear answers before the parliamentary committee.

Mochoboroane, who is the leader of the Movement for Economic Change (MEC), told the Pension Fund officials that they “needed to do a lot of explaining because the funds belong to the public”.

“We ask you to give us clear answers. You need to account to the people through this House,” Mochoboroane said.
Thuso Litjobo, a Proportional Representation MP for the Alliance of Democrats, also wanted clarity from the Pension Fund how the money was stolen.

Litjobo asked Ramochela: “How did the people who stole the money know it was there?”
“I want to know how it was known that there was money at the Post Office?” he asked.
More questions were thrown at the Pension Fund officials.
“This is a lot of money for Basotho,” Litjobo said.
Mochoboroane said it is of great concern that a lot of money was withdrawn at that time and it was more than the amount the pensioners were supposed to receive.

Ramochela said they wrote a letter to the Lesotho Defence Force asking for army security during the night.
He showed the letter to the PAC which was dated November 26, 2016.

The PAC heard that the officer who was in charge of the pensions in Mafeteng district was transferred from Mafeteng to Maseru.
The committee wanted to know why she was transferred after millions of Maloti were stolen.
Litjobo said they could not understand why ’Makori Posholi was transferred when she was supposed to face the music.
Posholi is a qualified accountant.

The Pension Fund denied that Posholi was transferred.
They gave a different explanation on the matter.

Matloi Majoro, one of the managers, said there was neither a promotion or demotion or transfer of Posholi.
Majoro argued that the Pension Fund management had used their powers to rotate staff within their department.

He said they did not need the Public Service Commission or the principal secretary of the Ministry of Finance’s approval to make the changes.
The Director Human Resources, Khoboso Molungoa, said the movement of Posholi from Mafeteng to Maseru was a special assignment.
“The transfer of Posholi raises (some questions),” Litjobo said.

He argued that there seemed to be a deliberate attempt by junior officers to swindle the Fund.
Mochoboroane told the Pension Fund officials that it appeared as if they were trying to protect themselves from what they had done.
“We need to know what really happened here,” Mochoboroane said.

The committee asked the Pension Fund to hand over the documents to them so that they could work out the figures themselves.

Majara Molupe

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