Renowned legal practitioner and former Principal Secretary of Home Affairs Advocate Borenahabokhethoe Sekonyela has corruption allegations to answer to.
The advocate was read a charge sheet this week before Acting Justice TÅ¡abo Matooane that he unlawfully authorized a M588 000 to a company named Kananelo Entperise which never delivered goods as dictated by contractual agreement when he was Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2017, thus amounting to a corruption offence.
According to the charge sheet, Sekonyela endorsed a payment to the Enterprise which failed to deliver goods as was agreed by both parties, thus contravening section 13 (3) of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act No.8 of 2002.
â€œIn that upon or about March 22, 2017 at or near the Ministry of Home Affairs in Maseru the said accused did unlawfully and illegally and intentionally approved the function or position of his office as the Principal Secretary (PS) and Chief Accounting Officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs at the time,â€ the charge sheet reads.
â€œIn the performance or failure to perform an act in violation of regulation 24 (1) section A of Treasurer Regulations of 2014 or in the discharge of his functions for the purpose of obtaining an undue advantage or for another person to wit by authorizing payment of Kananelo Enterprise whereas Kananelo Enterprise had not delivered the goods subject to the contract between the latter and the Ministry of Home Affairs knowing that at the time of Authorisation the said Kananelo Enterprise had not delivered the goods.
â€œThe accused did thereby commit the offence of corruption, alternatively the same accused is charged with contravening section 59 (1) (c) of the Public Financial Management Act 2010 read with regulation 24 (5) (8) of the Treasurer and Regulation Act of 2014,â€ the charge sheet reads.
It is further alleged that Sekonyela did unlawfully and intentionally instructed the officer in the accounts and examinations section to make payment for goods not delivered contrary to government contract, knowing that such goods had not been delivered.
According to a witness statement written by one Mahlomola Chele (40) who was holding the position of Marking Operator of Animals, states that he was summoned by the Directorate for Corruption and Economic Offence (DCEO) for questioning in relation to the illegal payment of the Enterprise and the role he played during the evaluation of the tender applications on April 13, 2018.
He said the District Manager of Livestock, TÅ¡eliso Moreki elected him to form a part of the evaluation team that will assist during the evaluation process to choose the right candidate for the job.
â€œIn January 2017 we met as evaluation team comprising of myself, Moreki, Nondungoa Setjeka and Phoka Masoebe of procurement. There were only two tender bidders; Khotso Industries Propriety limited and Kananelo Enterprise.
â€œWe evaluated them to see whether they respond to our needs inter alia; if they are lawfully registered as companies in Lesotho, whether they pay tax and that their trading license has not expired. How much they would do the job with and how quick they will finish the job,â€ Chele said.
He said Kananelo Enterprise proved its competence and scored the highest marks because they were going to deliver the goods with fewer prices as compared to their competitor.
â€œKananelo enterprise was charging only M538 000 while Khotso was demanding M648 615 and we recognised a big difference. The Enterprise further pledged to deliver right on time since we were desperate for equipment. They said they will deliver in two weeks after securing the tender while that of their competitors was longer.
â€œThe Enterprise seemed to have a wealth of knowledge in regard to the kind of equipment. We recommended that Kananelo Enterprise be awarded with the tender and we signed a compilation report. I donâ€™t know where it was taken since that day,â€ he said.
In another statement, Moreki testified that after both parties inked the contract on February 21, 2017, he made follow-ups with the procurement office as to when the goods will be delivered but the answer was they have contacted the supplier and she said she will deliver, until now they have not delivered.
â€œI heard from the management that advocate Sekonyela authorized payment of the Enterprise,â€ he said.