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DCEO probes bungled M11 million police project

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DCEO probes bungled M11 million police project

Mohloai Mpesi

The Directorate for Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) is investigating possible corruption in a bungled M11 million project to refurbish the Special Operations Unit (SOU) in Mabote Police Station.     

Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Police and Public Safety, Colonel Tanki Mothae, told this publication he was in possession of a letter from the anti-corruption body requesting him to furnish it with project documents for the bogus refurbishment.

The DCEO has also summoned the ministry’s procurement and economic planning officials in connection with the project, which commenced in 2018.

In a letter seen by this publication, the DCEO requested Colonel Mothae to release the ministry’s officers to an interview.

“In terms of section 7 (1) (c) of Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences (PCEO) Act No.5 of 1999, as amended by Act No.8 of 2006, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences is empowered to request information from any person,” the DCEO letter reads.

“Therefore, for purposes of administering the aforesaid laws, your good office is kindly requested to avail your Head of Procurement and Economic Planner to DCEO for interviews as highlighted in the above-mentioned subject matter.

“The officers are called to this interview to assist with information on the above-referenced case,” the letter ends.

Colonel Mothae confirmed that the DCEO investigation was in connection with the SOU refurbishment project.

“It is a matter relating to the refurbishment of a building at the Special Operations Unit at Ha Mabote, but it was not the first time they have contacted me seeking the documents,” he said.

“I referred them (DCEO) to my economic planner at the ministry because such matters are handled by them, but the planner told me they, in turn, referred them to the Ministry of Public Works as the documents in question were in their possession,” he said.

Colonel Mothae said the project documents had always been in the custody of the Public Works ministry as they were the supervisors of the refurbishment.

“We work together with that ministry, especially on businesses relating to establishments of buildings or erecting a new building. So I am not sure about the details of the case and the points that they were investigating pertaining to the renovation of the building as they (DCEO) did not disclose the information to me.

“So everything is now in the hands of the Public Works ministry. And this is not right because theirs is only to supervise and the ministries will do the implementation part,” he said.

On her part, DCEO spokesperson, ‘Matlhokomelo Senoko confirmed that the DCEO has written a letter to summon the police ministry’s economic planning officer but declined to disclose the details of their investigation.

“Yes, there is an investigation that the DCEO is carrying out but we cannot talk about it now because we could jeopardize it,” she said.    

The SOU refurbishment project was among uncompleted public projects which were toured by Development and Planning minister, Selibe Mochoboroane in 2019.      

Upon completion of the tour, Mochoboroane commented that the refurbishment of the SOU project at Mabote Police Station collapsed soon after completion.

“The project started in 2018 with the fencing as the first Phase amounting to M11 Million which collapsed within three months after completion,” he said on his Facebook account.

Mochoboroane advised all involved parties in the project to seat down to resolve an issue concerning perimeter fence collapse, but the officers at the station raised concern that the project was approved in 2017 and the expectation was to see the completion of the final stage of construction of the SOU project.

Mochoboroane was not available to comment on the details of what he found during his site visit to the police station.

Other failed public projects which Mochoboroane toured included the Rapokolana High Altitude Sports Centre facility which started in 2005 and cost the Government close to M55 million but could not function because electricity and road were major challenges.

Other sites he visited were Mpiti to Sehlaba-Thebe road construction; Tsikoane water and sanitation project; Queen II hospital construction as well as Belo factory estate construction.

Marakabei to Monontša road construction project site was also toured by the minister. At the time, only 34km of the total 57km of road construction was done.

The Marakabei to Monontša road project was funded by the Government of Lesotho to the tune of M1 billion. Its construction started in 2018 and is anticipated to be completed in 2022.

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