Phamotse charged over book tender

Phamotse charged over book tender

MASERU – SPORTS Minister Dr Mahali Phamotse appeared before Chief Magistrate ’Matankiso Nthunya on Tuesday charged with corruption.
Her charges stemmed from 2015 when she was the Minister of Education and Training where she was allegedly involved in a book tender scandal.
She was accompanied by her lawyer Advocate Salemane Phafane KC.

Magistrate Nthunya told Dr Phamotse of her legal rights including that of picking a lawyer of her own choice.
The court read her charges and asked her if she understood them.
The charges were based on the Corruption and Economic offences Act No.5 of 1999.

According to the charge sheet, between May and December 2015, Dr Phamotse, “took an undue advantage” while employed in the public service as the Minister of Education.
The charge sheet shows that Dr Phamotse “abused her position to influence an amendment to the years of experience in the Ministry of Education and Training’s tender bid document titled ‘development, printing, supply and delivery of textbooks and teacher’s guides for Grade 5 for the national curriculum development centre’.
The case was postponed to February 21 for mention.

Dr Phamotse was called for questioning at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) last Tuesday before she was formally charged.
She told thepost last week that she refused to cooperate with the DCEO investigators saying they had ambushed her and should have afforded her time to recollect her thoughts and bring her lawyer.
She said she believed the investigation against her “is politically motivated because its timing is curious”.
“I have been informed that there are some politicians who believe that I am the one who instigated the letter that some coalition partners are purported to have written to the King to complain about the Prime

Minister,” she said.
She was referring to a letter penned by the coalition government leaders which was addressed to King Letsie III in which they expressed concern about Prime Minister Thabane’s decision to fire Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli.

Molibeli invited Thabane’s ire after he instituted investigations against the First Family over the killing of former First Lady Lipolelo Thabane in June 2017.
Dr Phamotse is accused of trying to interfere with the process to award a tender for the supply of primary school books.
She has denied the charge.

Itumeleng Khoete

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