Chief tears into govt over spending
Thaba-bosiu Principal Chief Khoabane Theko on Tuesday criticised government’s decision to clear Members of Parliament (Mps)’s First National Bank loans.
The Ministry of Finance paid a staggering M32 million early this year to clear the funds obtained interest-free by MPS who were part of the short-lived Eighth Parliament.
However, news of the bailout only became public early this month, sparking outrage across the political divide.
The legislators are each entitled to M500 000 bank loans which they repay over the five years they are in office.
But after their tenure ended midterm due to the collapse of the three-party government led by Thomas Thabane, the MPS argued they could not service the debt anymore because they no longer had an income, hence the incoming administration’s decision to pay FNB.
The government has however, not said whether the MPS are still going to pay back the money. But according to Chief Theko, the bailout was reckless and an abuse of public funds.
“It was shocking to learn about government’s decision to pay for the MPS’ loans. How do we afford to do such a ridiculous thing in a country so hard hit by poverty? How do we continue with such a scheme when we are a least-developed country whose national budget is financed by donor aid? Government should recover the money, because it belongs to the people; to taxpayers,” said Chief Theko.
“Are we honestly contributing towards the country’s development and making sure the people get out of extreme poverty? We are now under a government with a prime minister who also buys out principal secretaries’ contracts as though the millions being spent are nothing.
“The prime minister is doing this without any fear of what the public will say; in fact, he is doing this with pride.
“We are shocked by this reckless spending. It’s just rhetoric by government officials when they say they care for the people.”