Cooperatives boss turns heat on PAC

Cooperatives boss turns heat on PAC

MASERU – THE Commissioner of Co-operatives, ’Maphamoli Lekoetje has filed an urgent application in the High Court asking the court to block the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson from interrogating her. This application was filed on Tuesday.
In the court papers, Lekoetje wants the court to ask Selibe Mochoboroane to show cause why he should not be interdicted and prohibited from proceeding with the enquiry over the forensic report of LETACC Chartered Accountants pending finalisation of the matter in the High Court.

Lekoetje wants the PAC proceedings involving her to be stayed and suspended pending finalisation of the matter.
She said the Clerk of the National Assembly or anyone responsible should be ordered to dispatch the record of proceedings and report involving Lekoetje to the court after 14 days of receipt of this application.
Lekoetje has two matters in the High Court that are still pending.

One of the cases deals with a forensic report by LETACC which is being challenged under review.
Lekoetje petitioned the Ministry of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing together with the Attorney General over what was believed to be an irregular report of a company that was appointed under controversial circumstances to probe the activities of the ministry and Cooperative Lesotho Ltd.
The matter is pending before Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi.

The other matter is pending before Justice Teboho Moiloa which involves the enforcement of the judgement of the Court of Appeal in C of A (CIV) 43/ 2016 and is having a bearing on the provisions of section 3(2) of the Cooperative Society Act No.6 of 2000 which empowers Lekoetje to carry out certain functions.
Her lawyer Advocate Christopher Lephuthing said there is need to prevent wrongs that cannot otherwise be redressed if Mochoboroane “and his misguided committee continue to conduct an enquiry over matters seized with the High Court of Lesotho”.

He said since these two cases were before the judges, the “rule of law and separation of powers we so treasure dictate that calm and circumspection be exercised once it is recognised that the issues sought to be interrogated by the PAC are before the judiciary”.

The court heard that it would be undesirable, inappropriate and unsafe for the PAC to mount a collateral enquiry over a matter seized by the High Court.
Adv Lephuthing said to let the PAC proceed to interrogate his client would be an infringement of the principle of legality.

In her founding affidavit, Lekoetje said the clerk of the National Assembly invited their ministry to appear before the PAC.
However the topical issues circumscribed as agenda related to giving responses to the Auditor General’s queries for three financial years 2013 to 2016.

“I accordingly attended in my capacity as Commissioner of Cooperatives, and so did my colleagues from the ministry in their varied capacities,” she said.
Lekoetje said she was interrogated over gossip that the Ministry of Finance was supposed to provide internal auditors to audit the cooperatives.

She said “while it is apparent that they are zealous MP’s, this present PAC is a recipe for disaster because it relies on gossip”.
The Commissioner said while she does not propose to pass value judgement against the PAC, it was clear that “if they continue to conduct the enquiry in the grandstanding format they adopted in her case, this country is bound to remain a Third World country so long as it is headed by legislators of this mentality”.

Itumeleng Khoete

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