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High Commissioner blamed for wasteful spending

Business

Matseliso Sehloho

The Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations Colonel Tanki Mothae says the Lesotho High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Rethabile Mahlompho Mokaeane’s poor fiscal management is the cause of the mission’s woes.

According to Mothae, the High Commissioner is running the country’s London mission down because she prioritises her personal interests ahead of and at the expense of the country’s.

Mothae told Newsday in an interview that Mokaeane would rather spend in access of M 4million for her three children’s school fees than pay for the Mission’s operating costs such as water, electricity, gas and paying staff salaries, as she says her children deserve to be prioritised above all else.

The PS was responding to assertions by Mokaeane who said the mission is on the verge of collapse and has turned into a laughing stock in the face of other nations. Speaking to a local radio station, Mokaeane said her life in London has been difficult since her ambassadorial appointment, where she claims to have found the situation in shambles. She said things are so difficult that mission’s supply of electricity, gas and other essential daily needs have been cut because of non-payment.

Mokaeane says she is even forced to commute by train as even cars cannot be used because of non-payment of insurance. She mentioned that commuting on a train to attend diplomatic matters hinders her from being present to most meetings as she is required to arrive in an ambassadorial car to such meetings.

Mokaeane claims the constant deceleration of the Lesotho Mission has been going on way before it was her time in London, thus she suspects there has been misuse of funds before she could sit in the office. 

Contacted to shed more light on the allegations she made on radio as well as quizzed by this publication about her remedial interventions to the claims, Mokaeane became irritated saying she had been answering the same questions all the time and that this reporter could refer to what she said on radio.

Meanwhile, Mothae refuted her claims as baseless and with no substance. He pointed out that the London mission was never broke and in shambles, that in fact in 2019 when Mokaeane arrived, the mission’s bank balance was an equivalent of M1.2 million, after all the mission expenses such as diplomats’ salaries and rents and all other essentials had been paid for.

He said since her arrival, extra money has had to be sent to London a number of times in additional bailout funds.

“The Lesotho London mission has had to be bailed out, not once, or twice, in fact we have sent her a fourth batch of bail out even though she has perpetually failed to account for use of the said money,’’ explained Mothae.

“The three times, I have bailed her out, I asked for the report concerning how the money she had been given had been used, till this day I have not been given a clear report. Rather I get reports concerning the personal relationships that are not working out with her subordinates.

“The M1.2 million disappeared without a trace, not because it was used fraudulently but because the mission did not use a vote book, a document that traces where every cent was spent” Mothae continued.

Mothae believes Mokaeane should be able to fix personal relations with her subordinates and work on what she was assigned to do in London by His Majesty. He says most of the mission money is being spent on Mokaeane’s personal aspirations rather than fulfilling her service obligations. He said Mokaeane even refuses to pay Mission staff salaries even when there is sufficient for that because she feels her children’s private school tuition should be prioritised.

He said that when the high commissioner arrived in London, it was already in the middle of the school term, and thus the kids could not be accepted in any public school, so it was understandable then for the children to be enrolled in a private school, but when the new term begun and it was time to enrol then to a public school like everyone else, Mokaeane flatly refused.

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