In a candid revelation before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Rapapa Sepiriti, chairperson of the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) Board, pointed fingers at political interference as the primary cause of the company’s sluggish performance.
Sepiriti unabashedly disclosed how abruot changes in government hampered LEC’s operational effectiveness, attributing the slowdown to unwarranted orders that halted strategic functions.
“Change in the government also forces change in the LEC governance, and that result in slow performance,” stated Sepiriti during Monday’s PAC meeting, convened to address queries from the Auditor General’s Reports spanning from March 31, 2017, to March 31, 2021.
Detailing the specific instance of interference, Sepiriti highlighted an incident following the formation of the current parliament and the subsequent government led by Prime Minister Ntsokoane Samuel Matekane, where the board received an instructive missive through the Ministry of Natural Resources.
This directive from the Minister of Natural resources, Mohlomi Moleko, demanded a cessation of all strategic actions by LEC, a move that Sepiriti contended was not within the minister’s purview.
“However, we did stop with the functions purely to be on the same page with the minister because we understood the implications that could be there and in turn affect the government,” Sepiriti clarified, emphasising that such decisions should rightfully rest with the board, not the minister.
Newsday was unable to secure an immediate comment from Moleko before the article’s publication. This publication is actively pursuing Moleko’s input, and once received, the article will be promptly updated to incorporate his perspective.
Despite these challenges, Sepiriti asserted that the LEC board had initiated multiple activities to address concerns raised by the Auditor General.
Among these measures was the formulation of a new operational strategy aimed at remedying issues flagged by the Auditor General, including ethical breaches among employees, non-compliance with industry standards, and structural reorganisation.
Responding to Sepiriti’s revelation, Montoeli Masoetsa, a member of the PAC acknowledged the admission of political interference, pointing fingers at politicians for inadequately scrutinising board appointees.
Masoetsa, a Member of Parliament (MP) for the former ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC), stressed the critical role of LEC in the country’s economy, highlighting the significance of appointing board members well-versed in corporate governance, not just as political favours.
In concurrence, ‘Machabana Lemphane-Letsie, the PAC’s Chairperson, emphasised the urgency for the LEC board to proactively address internal issues, warning of adverse effects on the public if these concerns persist.
Lemphane-Letsie urged the board to implement robust strategies to curtail escalating electricity charges that burden the ordinary citizens.