Khaketla haketla hits back ck at DC youths uths

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Bereng Mpaki

FI­NANCE Min­is­ter Dr ‘Mam­phono Khaketla (pic­tured) has dis­missed al­le­ga­tions she at­tempted to so­licit a M4 mil­lion bribe from a joint ven­ture com­pany short­listed for a mul­ti­mil­lion-mal­oti fleet ten­der.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence in Maseru yes­ter­day, Dr Khaketla re­peat­edly de­scribed the al­le­ga­tions as “base­less lies” say­ing she was be­ing per­se­cuted for her “strict man­age­ment” of state and Demo­cratic Congress (DC) cof­fers as Fi­nance min­is­ter and party trea­surer re­spec­tively.

The min­is­ter was re­spond­ing to sen­sa­tional al­le­ga­tions made by DC Youth League leader Thuso Litjobo and his Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Le­tuka Chafotsa that Dr Khaketla de­manded a M4 mil­lion bribe from a joint ven­ture com­pany, Le­be­lonyane, short­listed for the lu­cra­tive ten­der.

The govern­ment can­celled the ten­der process in June this year, opt­ing to in­stead ex­tend its orig­i­nal six month con­tract with Bid­vest into a new four-year con­tract for the South African com­pany even though it had not bid for the can­celled ten­der. Le­be­lonyane is now seek­ing a re­ver­sal of the govern­ment’s de­ci­sion in the courts, ar­gu­ing it should have been awarded the ten­der af­ter get­ting hold of a re­vised ten­der eval­u­a­tion re­port that rec­om­mended them as the re­cip­i­ents of the ten­der.

Dr Khaketla said her “big­gest crime” in the view of the youths was not let­ting them do as they pleased with state and party fi­nances. The min­is­ter has since de­manded M6 mil­lion from Messrs Litjobo and Chafotsa as com­pen­sa­tion for the “defam­a­tory state­ments” the duo is­sued against her.

“The truth is these al­le­ga­tions are all lies. But since I have al­ready filed a case in the courts against these busy bod­ies, I will ad­dress these is­sues in court. And I hope they will also be able to back up their al­le­ga­tions with wit­nesses and ev­i­dence. There­fore, if I could ad­dress them here, I would jeop­ar­dize the case,” Dr Khaketla said.

The min­is­ter said she had been a “loyal ser­vant” of the govern­ment of Le­sotho for over 30 years, adding she would not be swayed by the youths’ neg­a­tive talk.

“My take is there is more to this is­sue than they are let­ting on. I am be­ing used as a bridge by these busy bod­ies ies in or­der to achieve their in in­ter­ests,”sts,” Dr Khaketla said.

“It t is a known fact the DC re­cently tly held its elec­tive con­fer­ence nce in which I emerged as a win­ner against their wish; h; even af­ter the votes were e re-counted.”

“ItIt would seem these ut­ter­ances rances are meant to con­tinue their on­slaught ught against me in the he build-up to the elec­tive­tive con­fer­ence. Theyy ac­cused me of keep­ing a tight leash on the party’s ty’s fi­nances and, there­fore,re­fore, frus­trat­ing ing their ef­forts rts to get their hands nds on the money.”money. She added: “This s shows that even at gov govern­ment level, their wish was also to do as they pleased with pub­lic fina fi­nances. And that will n never hap­pen! That i is my great­est sin to t them although they w won’t pub­licly ad­mit it it.” Ef­forts to con con­tact Messrs Litjobo and Chafotsa yes­ter­day were fruit­less as their phones were un­reachaunreac ble.

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