WASCO boss sus­pended

Sunday Express - - NEWS - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

WA­TER and Sewage Com­pany (WASCO) Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer (CEO), Lehlo­honolo Manamolela, has been sus­pended in­def­i­nitely for al­legedly award­ing a M460 mil­lion ten­der to a Chi­nese-owned com­pany with­out proper pro­cure­ment pro­ce­dures.

The Chi­nese-owned UNIK Con­struc­tion Engi­neer­ing Com­pany was awarded the Five Towns Wa­ter Sup­ply project early this year.

Ac­cord­ing to WASCO, “The Five Towns Wa­ter Sup­ply project in­volves wa­ter sup­ply im­prove­ment in the five towns of Butha-Buthe, Hlotse, Mafeteng, Mo­hale`s Hoek, and Qacha`s Nek”.

“The im­prove­ment en­tails con­struc­tion of river in­take works, wa­ter treat­ment works, pump­ing stations, trans­mis­sion mains, dis­tri­bu­tion mains, and reser­voirs in the five towns,” WASCO fur­ther states.

Mr Manamolela stands ac­cused of award­ing the ten­der to UNIK against the de­ci­sions of WASCO’s eval­u­a­tion team which al­legedly dis­qual­i­fied UNIK at the be­gin­ning of the ten­der­ing pro­cesses for al­legedly fail­ing to meet tech­ni­cal spec­i­fi­ca­tions that were set out in the ten­der doc­u­ment.

WASCO Pub­lic Re­la­tions Man­ager, Li­neo Mo­qasa, yes­ter­day con­firmed the sus­pen­sion of Mr Manamolela in a me­dia state­ment.

“The WASCO board of di­rec­tors has re­solved to un­der­take foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tion in re­spect of the Five Towns Wa­ter Sup­ply and Smart Me­ter­ing Projects.

“Ac­cord­ingly, the WASCO chief ex­ec­u­tive, Mr Lehlo­honolo Manamolela, has been sus­pended from work ef­fec­tive from Fri­day 29 June 2018 pend­ing fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Dur­ing the pe­riod Ms Mamo­jela Koneshe will be act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of the com­pany,” Ms Mo­qasa said.

The WASCO state­ment fol­lows a sim­i­larly worded memo that was sent to the WASCO staff on Fri­day by the chair­per­son of the board of di­rec­tors, Cha­beli Ramolise, in­form­ing them of the de­ci­sion to sus­pend Mr Manamolela.

Well-placed sources yes­ter­day told the Sun­day Ex­press that the de­ci­sion to sus­pend Mr Manamolela was in­flu­enced by the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee (PAC)’s probe into the award­ing of the ten­der to UNIK Con­struc­tion.

“Ntate Manamolela was ad­mit­ted in hos­pi­tal early this year af­ter he fell in his of­fice,” one source said, adding that Mr Manamolela was in a coma for three days and he was given a three months sick leave to en­able him to fully re­cover.

“In­stead of tak­ing his leave, Ntate Manamolela im­me­di­ately went to work and awarded the ten­der to UNIK which had not made it onto the list of the five short­listed com­pa­nies,” the source said.

Another source said the is­sue was first raised by the PAC chair­per­son, Se­libe Mo­choboroane, dur­ing the PAC pro­ceed­ings in May this year.

“Ntate Mo­choboroane asked Ntate Manamolela whether it was just a co­in­ci­dence that he awarded the con­tract to UNIK im­me­di­ately af­ter he re­turned from hos­pi­tal.

“The ten­der is worth M460 mil­lion and the WASCO eval­u­a­tion team is not happy with the de­ci­sion to award it to UNIK which was dis­qual­i­fied for fail­ing to meet the tech­ni­cal spec­i­fi­ca­tions. This com­pany was dis­qual­i­fied right at the be­gin­ning of the ten­der eval­u­a­tion process,” the source said.

Mr Manamolela’s mo­bile phone re­peat­edly rang unan­swered when the Sun­day Ex­press called him to seek com­ment yes­ter­day.

How­ever, Mr Ramolise re­futed the al­le­ga­tions that the sus­pen­sion was in con­nec­tion with the PAC pro­ceed­ings.

He said the sus­pen­sion with­out elab­o­rat­ing, that Mr Manamolela’s sus­pen­sion was made to fa­cil­i­tate the foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Five Towns Wa­ter Sup­ply project as in­di­cated in the press state­ment.

The PAC hear­ings into the is­sue were con­ducted in May shortly be­fore PAC sus­pended its pro­ceed­ings on 16 May af­ter the Deputy Speaker of the Na­tional Assem­bly, Te­boho Lehloenya, barred PAC and other par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tees were from us­ing the cham­bers of the Na­tional Assem­bly for their pro­ceed­ings.

The PAC pro­ceed­ings will re­sume to­mor­row af­ter it de­cided to use one of the senate com­mit­tee rooms which it deems large enough to ac­com­mo­date PAC mem­bers and those sum­moned to ap­pear be­fore it.

WASCO and other de­part­ments un­der the Min­istry of Wa­ter will ap­pear the PAC start­ing to­mor­row.

WASCO Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Lehlo­honolo Manamolela.

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