Army probes Arv-steal­ing ‘syn­di­cate’

Lesotho Times - - News - Keiso Mohloboli

THE Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) is in­ves­ti­gat­ing “a syn­di­cate” of sol­diers that has been steal­ing med­i­ca­tion from Makoanyane Mil­i­tary Hospital for re­sale, De­fence and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Tšeliso Mokhosi has said.

Mr Mokhosi told the Le­sotho Times yes­ter­day that in­ves­ti­ga­tions had so far re­sulted in a Lance Cor­po­ral be­ing de­moted and slapped with a one-year jail term for steal­ing an­tiretro­vi­ral (ARV) drugs from the hospital last Oc­to­ber.

The min­is­ter said the sol­der, who was de- moted to the army’s lowest rank of pri­vate, was con­victed in a court mar­tial for steal­ing 96 bot­tles con­tain­ing 30 ARV tablets at the hospital’s Thomas Wellness Cen­tre.

Mr Mokhosi said in­ves­ti­ga­tions were still in progress and hoped more ar­rests would be made soon in re­la­tion to the “syn­di­cate”.

“I don’t want to get into any de­tails about this syn­di­cate be­cause some of the sus­pects have not been dis­ci­plined for the theft.

“So I don’t want to jeop­ar­dise mil­i­tary in- ves­ti­ga­tions, by say­ing more on this is­sue,” the min­is­ter said.

Mr Mokhosi said the sol­diers be­hind the syn­di­cate would soon face the might of the law since they were en­trusted with pro­tect­ing the vi­tal med­i­ca­tion.

“It is un­ac­cept­able and a se­ri­ous crime for sol­diers to steal from the hospital be­cause the na­tion needs the pills for HIV/AIDS treat­ment,” he said.

“Le­sotho is cur­rently in sec­ond po­si­tion

glob­ally in terms of HIV preva­lence, yet the peo­ple en­trusted with pro­tect­ing the life­sav­ing drugs are busy steal­ing them.

“The sol­diers made a vow af­ter in­duc­tion to be loyal to the LDF and to love and pro­tect Le­sotho.

“So they must all re­mem­ber their vow and stop steal­ing.”

The min­is­ter also took a swipe at some mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion al­liance for “blow­ing is­sues about the army out of pro­por­tion”.

“The op­po­si­tion must stop these dou­ble stan­dards and blow­ing is­sues about the army out of pro­por­tion,” said Mr Mokhosi.

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