Police warned against corruption
POLICE officers have warned against engaging in acts of corruption as these tarnished the image of the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) whose mandate is to uphold the laws of the land and provide safety and security for all citizens.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Paseka Mokete, delivered the warning at a recent press conference in Maseru that was held as part of the build up to the International Anti-Corruption Day.
International Anti-Corruption Day has been observed annually, on 9 December, since the passage of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on 31 October, 2003. It is a day for political leaders, governments, legal bodies and lobby groups to work together against corruption by organising events to engage the public to effectively fight against corruption and fraud.
This year’s theme is: ‘United against Corruption for Development, Peace and Security’.
Speaking at the press conference, Commissioner Mokete, said it as the LMPS’ mission to provide safety and security to all citizens, prevent and reduce crime while respecting and protecting the human rights of all.
He said that they were working closely with the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) and the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) in the fight against corruption.
“The DCEO and LRA are our partners in the fight against corruption and to denounce all activities undertaken towards the commission of this crime,” Commissioner Mokete said.
“It is an undeniable fact that we cannot successfully fight corruption unless the public including media give us information regarding corrupt activities.”
“A person commits the offence of corrupting public servants if he gives or agrees to offer to gifts to public officers in exchange for certain benefits.
“There have been frequent press reports alleging that government and private sector officials have been arrested in connection with corrupt activities and have been found guilty.”
He added that corruption hindered social and economic development in the country as it deterred potential investors from investing in Lesotho.
For her part, LRA Acting Commissioner-General, Idia Penane, said it was imperative for her organisation to join in the fight against corruption because it affected revenue collection which was crucial to the country’s economy.
“We believe that in commemorating the International Anti-corruption day, we are raising awareness against corruption,” Ms Penane said, adding that corruption took various forms such as tax evasion, smuggling of goods involving the collusion of officials and the public.
“We believe that through such collective initiatives, we can be victorious against corruption and consequently attain development, peace and security for all Basotho,” she said.
DCEO Director-General, Advocate Borotho Matsoso said corruption was a huge challenge in Lesotho, adding that it was therefore not surprising that Lesotho had plunged to position 83 in 2016 from 55 in 2014 in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index rankings.
“As a result of corruption, basic service delivery to the people suffers badly, be it health, education, licensing, recruitment, justice.
“Our impassioned plea to all our people through this campaign is that we should all stand up and confront the phenomenon of corruption of corruption and resolutely say, no to corruption,” Advocate Matsoso said.
Meanwhile, Maseru will host an anti-corruption symposium involving 200 stakeholders drawn from all sectors of society, on 4 December. This will be followed by the Anti-corruption Walk from Ha Nelese to Maseru Club on 8 December.