Zaly in M15 mil­lion ten­der storm

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Keiso Mohloboli and Le­tuka Chafotsa

COM­MU­NI­CA­TIONS, science and Tech­nol­ogy min­istry Prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary ( Ps) nonku­l­uleko Zaly has been ac­cused of flout­ing pro­cure­ment pro­ce­dures when she ac­quired In­for­ma­tion Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy (ICT) equip­ment worth M15 mil­lion.

The equip­ment was for the up­grad­ing of gov­ern­ment’s en­tire com­puter net­work and de­liv­ered to the min­istry on 17 Jan­uary this year.

How­ever, Ms Zaly — who was fired in Novem­ber 2013 for al­leged in­sub­or­di­na­tion but re­in­stated in Oc­to­ber last year fol­low­ing a pro­tracted legal battle — is be­ing ac­cused by her pre­de­ces­sor, Tšeliso Khomari, of vi­o­lat­ing gov­ern­ment’s ten­der reg­u­la­tions in the pur­chase.

Mr Khomari was ap­pointed Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Ps when Ms Zaly was sacked fol­low­ing sev­eral clashes with then Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, science and Tech­nol­ogy min­is­ter Tšeliso Mokhosi.

But af­ter the Con­sti­tu­tional Court or­dered Ms Zaly’s re­in­state­ment, Mr Khomari was re­de­ployed to the Min­istry of Public ser­vice, which he re­fuses to ac­cept, lead­ing to bad blood be­tween the two.

In a let­ter to the Di­rec­torate on Cor­rup­tion and eco­nomic Of­fences (DCEO) Direc­tor Gen­eral, Borotho Mat­soso, Mr Khomari ac­cuses Ms Zaly of break­ing the law when she pur­chased the equip­ment.

The let­ter, dated 4 Fe­bru­ary 2015 and copied to the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner and Fi­nance Min­istry Ps Khosi let­sie, reads in part:

“This is to in­form you that the Min­istry of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, science and Tech­nol­ogy has just re­ceived Ict-re­lated equip­ment worth in ex­cess of R15 mil­lion.

“Up to date (sic), our in­ves­ti­ga­tions have re­vealed that this equip­ment has been pur­chased en­tirely out­side stand­ing pro­cure- ment reg­u­la­tions and pro­ce­dures.

“Your author­ity and ex­pert in­ter­ven­tion would help es­tab­lish per­son(s) be­hind this mal­prac­tice.”

But be­fore Mr Khomari’s cor­re­spon­dence, Mr let­sie had al­ready started prob­ing how Ms Zaly pro­cured the equip­ment. In a let­ter dated 30 Jan­uary 2015 and ad­dressed to “Ps Com­mu­ni­ca­tions”, Mr let­sie had re­quested the fol­low­ing in­for­ma­tion:

ev­i­dence that Gov­ern­ment pro­cure­ment pro­ce­dures were fol­lowed such as in­vi­ta­tion of ten­ders;

list of com­pa­nies that ten­dered for the sup­ply of the re­quired equip­ment;

names of the eval­u­a­tion team mem­bers and ten­der panel; Re­port of the eval­u­a­tion team; Ap­proval of the ten­der panel and se­lec­tion cri­te­ria. How­ever, in an in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times yes­ter­day, Ms Zaly said she did not re­spond to Mr let­sie’s let­ter, but would not give rea­sons why.

“First of all, I am the Ps here and any ac­cu­sa­tion by Khomari can­not be taken se­ri­ously es­pe­cially if he makes it claim­ing that he is the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Ps,” Ms Zaly said.

Ms Zaly then ac­cused ICT Direc­tor-gen­eral le­busa let­lotlo of be­ing be­hind the “plot” to tar­nish her im­age through the ten­der-fraud al­le­ga­tions.

Ms Zaly fur­ther said Mr let­lotlo was be­ing used by the le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) and fired Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Se­libe Mo­choboroane, in their “po­lit­i­cal bat­tles”.

she said gov­ern­ment’s cen­tralised data sys­tem re­vamp­ing and up­grad­ing project was ten­dered and awarded to a south African and lo­cal firm EOH and Engi­data re­spec­tively on 23 April 2014.

“The project was sup­posed to take six months but due to de­lib­er­ate de­lays caused by Mr let­lotlo, the sys­tem was never up­graded and the con­tract has now stretched to over a year now since he had failed to do his job.

“Th­ese peo­ple de­layed the com­ple­tion of the project only be­cause they were on a mission to en­sure Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing’s court case is not reg­is­tered in the data sys­tem,” Ms Zaly said.

she added the project de­pended on the up­grade of the stor­age Area net­work (san) to re­main op­er­a­tional hence her de­ci­sion to ur­gently deal with the mat­ter.

Ms Zaly also said the com­mu­ni­ca­tions min­istry had re­ceived com­plaints from other gov­ern­ment de­part­ments fol­low­ing their in­abil­ity to re­trieve and ac­cess the recorded in­for­ma­tion.

On his part, Mr let­lotlo said his depart­ment had drawn a pro­posed bud­get of M29 300 000 mil­lion to the Min­istry of Fi­nance, which was still await­ing ap­proval — only to dis­cover that Ms Zaly had al­ready ac­quired the san on 1 De­cem­ber 2014 worth M16 692 032, which was de­liv­ered to the min­istry on 17 Jan­uary 2015.

“Ms Zaly in­structed the project co­or­di­na­tor to re­ceive the san and backup de­vice and I ad­vised the co­or­di­na­tor to re­frain from in­ter­act­ing with the con­trac­tors since my of­fice was not aware of any ar­range­ment per­tain­ing to the pro­cure­ment of such equip­ment,” Mr let­lotlo said.

Mr let­lotlo said he then re­ported the sus­pected fraud to Mr Mo­choboroane and Mr Khomari for legal mea­sures to be taken and for the project to con­tinue.

“Ms Zaly also sur­prised me when she in­structed engi­data and EOH not to com­mu­ni­cate with the ICT depart­ment and promised them that the pay­ment for their equip­ment would be made af­ter the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 elec­tions,” he said, adding his of­fice was not sure if Ms Zaly was aware of the spec­i­fi­ca­tions the sys­tem re­quired when she pur­chased the equip­ment.

Mr let­lotlo also ac­cused Ms Zaly of in­struct­ing the min­istry’s e-gov­ern­ment In­fra­struc­ture project co­or­di­na­tor to ac­cept the equip­ment with­out fol­low­ing due process.

He said the project co­or­di­na­tor alerted her of the anom­aly, to which Ms Zaly had al­legedly warned him “never to re­sist her in­struc­tions ever again”.

Mr Khomari con­firmed writ­ing to the po­lice, DCEO and Min­istry of Fi­nance about Ms Zaly’s “sus­pected fraud”.

“We are two Pss here but any­thing that is fi­nan­cial within the min­istry is my re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Mr Khomari said.

“Af­ter all, only my sig­na­ture is con­sid­ered au­then­tic and law­ful. Ms Zaly was on the wrong side of the law by pur­chas­ing that equip­ment with­out fol­low­ing due process and we are also con­duct­ing in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions on the mat­ter.”

Mean­while, Gov­ern­ment sec­re­tary Moahloli Mphaka yes­ter­day said the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Ps was Ms Zaly and not Mr Khomari. Mr Mphaka added Mr Khomari was re-de­ployed to the Min­istry of Public ser­vice although he had re­fused to ac­cept his place­ment.

“Con­sider all the re­ports, and signed doc­u­ments by Mr Khomari as a nul­lity be­cause they have no author­ity,” Mr Mphaka said.

“Mr Khomari doesn’t rep­re­sent any depart­ment in the Min­istry of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, science and Tech­nol­ogy.

“I might not know the spe­cific de­tails con­cern­ing the pro­cure­ment of the equip­ment but Mr Khomari’s ac­cu­sa­tions won’t be con­sid­ered be­cause he doesn’t have any author­ity to rep­re­sent the min­istry.”

Ms Zaly in­structed the project co­or­di­na­tor to re­ceive the SAN and backup de­vice and I ad­vised the co­or­di­na­tor to re­frain from in­ter­act­ing with the con­trac­tors since my of­fice was not aware of any ar­range­ment per­tain­ing to the pro­cure­ment of such equip­ment

MIN­ISTRY of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Science and Tech­nol­ogy PS Nonku­l­uleko Zaly

COM­MU­NI­CA­TIONS min­istry PS Nonku­l­uleko Zaly

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