‘MPS should pay back the money’

Lesotho Times - - News -

be­fore the Se­nate Pe­ti­tion Com­mit­tee af­ter lodg­ing a pe­ti­tion which was sub­mit­ted to Se­nate Pres­i­dent, Chief Seeiso Bereng Seeiso, Na­tional As­sem­bly Speaker Ntl­hoi Mot­samai and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Dr ‘Mam­phono Khaketla.

One of the pe­ti­tion­ers, Lerato Pekane, told the com­mit­tee the MPS’ loan fa­cil­ity was “tan­ta­mount to political cor­rup­tion”.

“We have re­alised that the pay­ment was made with­out the MPS pro­nounc­ing their in­abil­ity to re­pay the loans they took from the com­mer­cial bank,” said Mr Pekane.

“We un­der­stand the govern­ment func­tions as a guar­an­tor in this scheme but our con­cern is that th­ese funds were not even bud­geted for.

“They ap­pear to have been a gift to the MPS from the govern­ment, and if they can­not be re­paid as we ask, then the tax laws should be ap­plied to this ‘gift’. All we see here is a scheme that amounts to political cor­rup­tion.”

An­other pe­ti­tioner, Se­limo Tha­bane, chipped in say­ing the govern­ment and legis- la­tors had “mis­placed pri­or­i­ties” by fo­cus­ing on the bailout and not Ba­sotho’s wel­fare.

“Any govern­ment and its MPS who are pa­tri­otic would get their pri­or­i­ties straight and fo­cus on how the econ­omy of this land can be im­proved to en­sure that Le­sotho does not al­ways ap­pear at the bot­tom of all eco­nomic per­for­mance rank­ings,” Mr Tha­bane said.

“The bailout is a sign of mis­placed in­ter­ests and pri­or­i­ties. It left many peo­ple won­der­ing whether our MPS value the poor peo­ple in the vil­lages who voted for them.”

He added: “We have also learnt that this shame­ful set­tle­ment was not only ar­ranged for Eighth Par­lia­ment MPS who failed to make it into the cur­rent ses­sion but also for leg­is­la­tors who went on to the Ninth Par­lia­ment.

“The ben­e­fi­ciary MPS re­ceived an­other M500 000 loan from the same scheme. Such con­duct from our MPS and the govern­ment is dis­grace­ful to say the least.”

Mr Tha­bane said while MPS were en­joy­ing the “free ride” at tax­pay­ers’ ex­pense, some stu­dents were un­able to fur­ther their stud­ies at in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing be­cause the Na­tional Man­power De­vel­op­ment Sec­re­tar­iat (NMDS) had no money.

“Why do we have stu­dents who qual­i­fied to en­rol at ter­tiary schools seated at home when the govern­ment can af­ford to pay M32 mil­lion?” he queried.

“Why can’t the govern­ment also give un­em­ployed Ba­sotho loans to start small busi­nesses?

“We call upon the govern­ment to act upon this is­sue. That money should be paid back and used else­where for the bet­ter­ment of this coun­try.”

Fol­low­ing the pre­sen­ta­tions, Se­nate Pe­ti­tion Com­mit­tee chair­per­son and Leribe Prin­ci­pal Chief, Joele Mot­soene, as­sured the pe­ti­tion­ers their con­cerns would be in­ves­ti­gated.

“We will fol­low the due pro­cesses and ad­dress your con­cerns. We will also in­vite the Min­istry of Fi­nance to come ad­dress this com­mit­tee on this is­sue openly in your pres­ence so that we can have a res­o­lu­tion on the mat­ter,” said Sen­a­tor Mot­soene.

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