Min­is­ter vows to tackle car per­mits graft

Lesotho Times - - News - Mot­samai Mokotjo

PUB­LIC Works and Trans­port Min­is­ter Tšoeu Mok­eretla says cases of cor­rup­tion in the is­suance of pub­lic ve­hi­cle per­mits should be nipped in the bud as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

In his ad­dress dur­ing a Sys­tems In­tegrity Com­mit­tee (SIC) work­shop this week, Mr Mok­eretla said in­stances of cor­rup­tion should not be ig­nored but tack­led head-on. SIC con­sists of se­nior of­fi­cials from the min­istry’s var­i­ous de­part­ments and serves as an in­ter­nal self-mon­i­tor­ing mech­a­nism to pre­vent cor­rup­tion.

The com­mit­tee also serves the role of sen­si­tis­ing min­istry of­fi­cials of is­sues re­lated to the fight against cor­rup­tion through reg­u­lar check-ups against in­ef­fi­ciency and in­ef­fec­tive­ness.

Held un­der the theme “The In­tegrity of In­sti­tu­tions is Char­ac­terised by Ef­fi­cient and Ef­fec­tive Ser­vice De­liv­ery, Free from Cor­rupt Prac­tices” the work­shop was or­gan­ised by the Di­rec­torate on Cor­rup­tion and Eco­nomic Of- fences (DCEO).

Mr Mok­eretla said some of the min­istry’s depart­ment heads had not taken the SIC work­shop se­ri­ously by not at­tend­ing and send­ing their rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

“It is very sad to note that not all mem­bers of the com­mit­tee are in at­ten­dance. Those who are ab­sent are be­lit­tling this is­sue of cor­rup­tion by send­ing their rep­re­sen­ta­tives and not com­ing by them­selves,” he said.

“This work­shop is meant to equip us with skills needed to tackle cor­rup­tion.”

The min­is­ter said the DCEO had un­earthed in­stances of cor­rup­tion in the is­suance of pub­lic ve­hi­cle per­mits by the Depart­ment of Traf­fic.

“The DCEO as­sisted the Pub­lic Works and Trans­port min­istry to probe the is­suance of C and D per­mits that are meant for buses, taxis and four-plus-one taxis,” Mr Mok­eretla said.

“The fact that there are cor­rupt prac­tices tak­ing place can no longer be ig­nored, par­tic­u­larly with re­gards to C and D per­mits.”

He added: “We can­not af­ford to have peo­ple pay­ing bribes to get C per­mits with­out hav­ing their ve­hi­cles checked, be­cause it puts in­no­cent peo­ple’s lives in jeop­ardy.”

“There’s an out­cry out there that a lot of im­por­tant doc­u­ments are be­ing sold il­le­gally. Our mis­sion is to change this sit­u­a­tion once and for all.”

Mr Mok­eretla said the anti-cor­rup­tion drive was in line with the ethos of the rul­ing seven-party coali­tion.

“Our pol­icy as a coali­tion govern­ment is clear when it comes to fight­ing cor­rup­tion, and the Min­istry of Pub­lic Works and Trans­port is not an ex­cep­tion,” he said.

“Pub­lic ser­vants should per­form their du­ties with in­tegrity, and bribes don’t go hand in hand with trans­parency.”

On his part, DCEO Di­rec­tor-gen­eral Borotho Mat­soso, said cor­rup­tion was hav­ing a crip­pling ef­fect on ser­vice de­liv­ery.

“Cor­rup­tion, by def­i­ni­tion, is cor­ro­sive. It de­stroys the moral fab­ric of so­ci­ety, it harms the econ­omy of na­tions, and it is both an­tidemo­cratic and anti-de­vel­op­men­tal,” he said.

“With cor­rup­tion, ser­vice de­liv­ery suf­fers bru­tally, in­sti­tu­tions lose pub­lic con­fi­dence, and an­ar­chy en­croaches into govern­ment as a whole.”

Ad­vo­cate Mat­soso said they de­cided to as­sist the Min­istry of Pub­lic Works and Trans­port be­cause it was in­te­gral to the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try.

“The Min­istry of Pub­lic Works and Trans­port is charged with an ab­so­lutely im­por­tant man­date of de­vel­op­ing cru­cial in­fra­struc­ture in the form of road net­works and build­ings, and equally sig­nif­i­cant; of reg­u­lat­ing trans­port as well,” he said.

“This is very crit­i­cal for the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try as a whole. If in­deed there is any way cor­rup­tion is to be pre­vented, it is in the Min­istry of Pub­lic Works and Trans­port.

“It is for this very rea­son that the DCEO is work­ing to­gether with the min­istry to help the min­istry do a Cor­rup­tion Risk Anal­y­sis with a view to iden­tify ar­eas that may ren­der the min­istry vul­ner­a­ble to cor­rup­tion, and put in place ef­fec­tive con­trols.”

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