Litjobo chal­lenges top cop

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

OUT­SPO­KEN Demo­cratic Congress ( DC) youth league boss, Thuso Litjobo, has fired an­other salvo at Fi­nance Min­is­ter Dr ’Mam­phono Khaketla, ac­cus­ing her and “some min­is­ters and par­lia­men­tar­i­ans” of own­ing Bid­vest Fleet Com­pany, which was awarded a lu­cra­tive fleet man­age­ment con­tract.

Mr Litjobo has also chal­lenged Maseru Ur­ban Dis­trict Po­lice Com­mis­sioner, Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Mot­latsi Map­ola, whom he accuses of be­ing in­structed by cab­i­net to “ar­rest and tor­ture us un­til death” to come get him since he was the one who leaked the eval­u­a­tion re­port that rec­om­mended joint ven­ture com­pany, Le­be­lonyane, as the re­cip­i­ents of the ten­der.

Ad­dress­ing scores of DC sup­port­ers wel­com­ing home the DC youth league ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers and Le­be­lonyane di­rec­tors fol­low­ing their re­turn in Maseru on Mon­day, Mr Litjobo al­leged Dr Khaketla had in­structed the po­lice to “ar­rest and tor­ture us to death.”

Three DC youth league of­fi­cials and six Le­be­lonyane di­rec­tors skipped the coun­try a fort­night ago fear­ing for their lives af­ter al­leg­ing mas­sive cor­rup­tion in the han­dling of the lu­cra­tive gov­ern­ment fleet con­tract.

The DC youth league ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers who were wel­comed back on Mon­day were Le­tuka Chafotsa, Lekhotla Matšaba and Maliehe Lem­phane, while the Le­be­lonyane di­rec­tors were ’Mat­likane Khali, Teboho Mothebe­soane, Moorosi Ramoipone, Kereke Motelet­sane, Thamae Rapitso and Let­satsi Mabona.

The nine re­turned af­ter a three-mem­ber task team, com­pris­ing the DC Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC) chair­per­son ’ Maboiketlo Maliehe, her deputy Kose Makoa and com­mit­tee mem­ber Ndi­wudlile Nd­lo­mose, fetched them from South Africa.

Ms Maliehe said the task team had been tasked by the NEC to col­lect them.

“We looked for them, and af­ter find­ing them, we were forth­right that we could not guar­an­tee their safety in Le­sotho. But we said what­ever poses a threat to them shall first have to come to us and eat us first. We are go­ing to hand them over to the NEC where talks will also be­gin,” she said.

In his re­marks, Mr Litjobo said the DC was los­ing ground dur­ing elec­tions be­cause of a per­cep­tion by the elec­torate the party was cor­rupt.

“The DC has con­tin­ued to lose con­stituen­cies in ev­ery elec­tion. One of the rea­sons we have con­tin­u­ally lost con­stituen­cies is be­cause of al­le­ga­tions our gov­ern­ment was cor­rupt. That was not true, then. Ahead of the 2012 and 2015 gen­eral elec­tions, the pub­lic was made to believe our party com­prised of thieves. That also was not true,” he said.

“But to­day, I am ap­peal­ing to all DC mem- bers to con­demn cor­rup­tion and prove to ev­ery­one that in­deed we are not the party of thieves. Each one of you should deal with any­one among us who seems to be cor­rupt to pro­tect the im­age of our party and its leader.

“I am say­ing this be­cause it is clearly stip­u­lated in the DC con­sti­tu­tion that the party should act against cor­rup­tion. The con­sti­tu­tion is clear that we shall con­demn cor­rup­tion in our gov­ern­ment. There­fore, it is man­dated to ev­ery one of us in the DC to fight cor­rup­tion in ev­ery man­ner pos­si­ble.”

Mr Litjobo said the DC youth league was un­flinch­ing in fight­ing cor­rup­tion “in all its forms” within the gov­ern­ment.

“That is our re­spon­si­bil­ity, and we are proud to say we have started it per­fectly well by fight­ing cor­rup­tion in the pub­lic sec­tor,” he said.

“We should not be seen to be fight­ing cor­rup­tion only when the gov­ern­ment in power is not ours, but we should do so even with our own gov­ern­ment.”

The DC youth league boss re­mained firm in his al­le­ga­tions against Dr Khaketla.

“There was a ten­der in­vi­ta­tion from the Min­istry of Fi­nance. Dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies made bids for this ten­der and there was one win­ner at the end of the ten­der process,” he said re­fer­ring to the joint ven­ture com­pany, which con­sists of Fleet Ser­vice Le­sotho (Pty) Ltd and Le­be­lonyane (Pty) Ltd (Fleet Ser­vices).

“Quite un­for­tu­nately, there was one min­is­ter who, to­gether with her ‘ right hand’ per­son, in­vited the win­ner to her place and re­quested a ‘very ex­pen­sive drink’ from this com­pany which won the ten­der,” Mr Litjobo said cheek­ily, re­fer­ring to a man he has pre­vi­ously de­scribed as the min­is­ter’s “per­sonal friend”, Thabo Napo.

Mr Napo has since threat­ened to sue the DC un­less it reins-in the youth league while Dr Khaketla had de­manded M6 mil­lion in defam­a­tory com­pen­sa­tion from Mr Litjobo and his col­leagues.

“The min­is­ter and ‘ her right hand’ de­manded at least M4 mil­lion from this com­pany to be awarded the ten­der. But this com­pany failed to pro­vide the bribe. The com­pany I am re­fer­ring to is called Le­be­lonyane, whose own­ers were on the run along­side our youth league mem­bers. “Mem­bers of Le­be­lonyane were then told by the min­is­ter and her ‘ right hand’ to for­get about this ten­der if they failed to pay the min­i­mum of M4 mil­lion bribe de­spite be­ing num­ber one.”

Mr Litjobo added: “This is­sue dragged from as far back as be­tween March and April this year, with one party con­tin­u­ally re­quest­ing for the bribe and the other party re­fus­ing to com­ply. The ten­der was even­tu­ally awarded to a cer­tain com­pany (Bid­vest) which didn’t even bid for the par­tic­u­lar ten­der. We have es­tab­lished that this com­pany be­longs to some min­is­ters and par­lia­men­tar­i­ans in our gov­ern­ment. I re­peat, this com­pany which has been awarded the ten­der be­longs to some par­lia­men­tar­i­ans and min­is­ters in gov­ern­ment.

“We are tired of be­ing named thieves be­cause of some few peo­ple. We didn’t vote for peo­ple to be cor­rupt. We refuse to let the im­age of our gov­ern­ment be tainted by a few cor­rupt in­di­vid­u­als. It is very dif­fi­cult to cam­paign for elec­tions, yet af­ter win­ning and form­ing gov­ern­ment some peo­ple quickly for­get that and dis­ap­point the vot­ers.”

Turn­ing to the gath­ered DC youths, he said: “A lot of you don’t have jobs, but some­body who has a job has the au­dac­ity to de­mand a M4 mil­lion bribe from a com­pany which could have em­ployed many of you had it been awarded the ten­der it de­serves. This com­pany would even pay taxes for econ­omy of this coun­try.

“Again, if this ten­der was go­ing to be awarded to Le­be­lonyane, the gov­ern­ment was only go­ing to pay it around M34 mil­lion per month. But with the com­pany con­tract- ed by the Min­istry of Fi­nance now, the gov­ern­ment is go­ing to pay a min­i­mum of M64 mil­lion a month. This jus­ti­fies why we are say­ing some min­is­ters and par­lia­men­tar­i­ans are ben­e­fi­cia­ries of this com­pany, and want us not to make noise about cor­rup­tion as ob­vi­ous as this one.”

Mr Litjobo said he was the one who leaked the ten­der eval­u­a­tion re­port to the joint ven­ture firm. The re­port re­vealed that of the two fi­nal short­listed com­pa­nies – the eval­u­a­tion team rec­om­mended the ten­der to be awarded to Le­be­lonyane which scored 81.85 points against 68.21 points for its com­peti­tor.

Le­be­lonyane has since said it would soon file a fresh ap­pli­ca­tion in the Com­mer­cial Court to block the Bid­vest con­tract in light of rev­e­la­tions it was the pre­ferred bid­der.

“We found the eval­u­a­tion doc­u­ment which clearly showed Le­be­lonyane had been rec­om­mended as the pre­ferred bid­der af­ter out­com­pet­ing other com­pa­nies. The au­thor­i­ties had hid­den this doc­u­ment away from Le­be­lonyane so the com­pany did not have proof it won the ten­der,” said Mr Litjobo.

“Go and tell Ntate Map­ola that we used our in­ves­tiga­tive skills to get that doc­u­ment. Tell Ntate Map­ola if he con­tin­ues to harass Le­be­lonyane and DC youth league mem­bers, de­mand­ing where they got the doc­u­ment, tell him to come to me. Tell him I am the one who gave them the doc­u­ment.

“We know that Ntate Map­ola was in­structed by cab­i­net to ar­rest and tor­ture us un­til death. The cab­i­net whose min­is­ters were elected by us reached a de­ci­sion to in­struct the Maseru Ur­ban po­lice com­mis­sioner to ar­rest and tor­ture us un­til we die. That’s the rea­son why these fel­low youths fled the coun­try.”

He added: “What is also strange is that af­ter such a cab­i­net de­ci­sion you would ex­pect the Min­is­ter of Po­lice (Monyane Moleleki) to be the one ex­e­cut­ing the de­ci­sion by in­struct­ing the po­lice to ef­fect it. But in this case, the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance is the one who is­sued the in­struc­tion to Ntate Map­ola. And be­cause Ntate Map­ola is a rab­ble-rouser, he fol­lowed the in­struc­tion and chased us.”

Re­peated ef­forts to se­cure Snr Supt Map­ola’s com­ment proved un­suc­cess­ful yes­ter­day as the Maseru Ur­ban dis­trict po­lice com­mis­sioner twice invit­ing this re­porter to his of­fice, only to find him out of of­fice with his where­abouts un­known by his sub­or­di­nates.

For her part, Dr Khaketla asked this re­porter to stop con­tact­ing her over this mat­ter in the past.

Go and tell Ntate Map­ola that we used our in­ves­tiga­tive skills to get that doc­u­ment. Tell Ntate Map­ola if he con­tin­ues to harass Le­be­lonyane and DC youth league mem­bers, de­mand­ing where they got the doc­u­ment, tell him to come to me. Tell him I am the one who gave them the doc­u­ment

DC youth league leader Thuso Litjobo (right) and some of the DC youths and Le­be­lonyane di­rec­tors who re­turned from ex­ile on Mon­day.

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