DCEO in­ves­ti­ga­tor ab­ducted, shot

Lesotho Times - - News - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

AN in­ves­ti­ga­tor in the Direc­torate on Cor­rup­tion and Eco­nomic Of­fences (DCEO) is re­cov­er­ing in hos­pi­tal af­ter be­ing ab­ducted and shot by two un­known as­sailants last Fri­day.

Tha­bang Ntai (38) (pic­tured) — who was prob­ing the con­tro­ver­sial ve­hi­cle fleet ten­der the pre­vi­ous govern­ment inked with Bid­vest Bank Lim­ited -- was ab­ducted as he was about to en­ter the gate of his home in Motse-mocha, Motim­poso at around 10pm, ac­cord­ing to po­lice spokesper­son, In­spec­tor Mpiti Mopeli.

“When he was about to open the gate to his home, two men came out of nowhere point­ing guns at him,” he said.

“They or­dered him to get back into his car and one of the as­sailants drove the ve­hi­cle. Along the way, they picked up a third man and then cov­ered his (Mr Ntai) face so that he couldn’t see where they were go­ing.

“They even­tu­ally shot him and left him for dead be­fore driv­ing off.”

Insp Mopeli said Mr Ntai man­aged to drag him­self away from the area and was res­cued by peo­ple who were nearby.

Upon ask­ing the res­cuers were he was, Mr Ntai was told they were in Ha-mapetla vil­lage in Abia be­fore be­ing taken to a nearby hos­pi­tal where he is re­cov­er­ing.

Mr Ntai’s car was on Sun­day found aban­doned in Ha Le­qele on the park­ing lot of the Senkatana clinic next to the Na­tional Health Train­ing Col­lege with the keys still on the ig­ni­tion. His em­ploy­ment iden­tity doc­u­ment and driver’s li­cense were also found in the car.

Insp Mopeli said po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the mat­ter were on­go­ing, adding that it was too early to con­clude if the at­tack was con­nected to Mr Ntai’s job.

“Po­lice are still mak­ing in­ves­tiga- tions and we would rather not com­ment on that, lest we prej­u­dice the in­ves­ti­ga­tions and fail to see the big­ger pic­ture,” he said.

The pre­vi­ous Pakalitha Mo­sisililed govern­ment can­celled the ten­der in March this year af­ter ad­mit­ting that Bid­vest Bank Lim­ited had milked govern­ment of mil­lions of mal­oti and that the bills were spi­ralling to a point where it was dif­fi­cult to pay them off.

While then Fi­nance Min­is­ter Tlo­hang Sekhamane did not state the amounts owed and al­ready paid to the South African in­sti­tu­tion, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Monyane Moleleki has claimed that the for­mer govern­ment paid M600 mil­lion in the last fi­nan­cial year to Bid­vest Bank Lim­ited and fol­lowed this up with an­other M73 mil­lion in penal­ties af­ter pre­ma­turely ter­mi­nat­ing the con­tract.

For­mer min­is­ters, Lekhetho Rakuoane and Se­libe Mo­choboroane, were grilled last month by the DCEO as for­mer mem­bers of a cabi­net sub­com­mit­tee that awarded the ten­der to Bid­vest.

Last week, for­mer Fi­nance min­is­ter ‘Mam­phono Khaketla and her friend Thabo Napo were charged with at­tempt­ing to in­duce a M4 mil­lion bribe from a joint ven­ture com­pany short­listed for the ten­der, Le­be­lonyane, in ex­change for be­ing awarded the mul­ti­mil­lion mal­oti ten­der.

When asked if the at­tack could be con­nected with Mr Ntai’s in­ves­ti­ga­tions, DCEO spokesper­son ’Matl­hokomelo Senoko said: “We have probed many other cases be­fore and, there­fore, I can­not con­clude that the shoot­ing had any­thing to do with the Le­be­lonyane case lest we jeop­ar­dize po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

“Even though we have in­ves­ti­gated nu­mer­ous cases, such an at­tack has never hap­pened be­fore. It ac­tu­ally high­lights the need for our se­cu­rity to be beefed up to keep us safe.”

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