Half a million maloti for Maesaiah’s doctorate
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By Mamello Mosaefane
When Maesaiah Thabane, Lesotho’s former first lady was on March 9, 2019 conferred with an honorary doctorate, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s office coughed up M449,500 from the country’s contingency fund.
Maesaiah was conferred with an honorary doctorate by Divinity College Consortium (an interdenominational university), at the South African campus in South Africa, Port Elizabeth for her philanthropic work.
But, the MNN Centre for Investigative Journalism understands that Maesaiah’s doctorate is a personal achievement whose expenses should have not been paid for from the public purse.
Use of funds in the contingency fund of Lesotho is provided for in accordance with the provisions of the public financial management act of 2011.
The Act provides in section 17 (2) that if the minister is satisfied that there has arisen an urgent and unforeseen need for expenditure for which no other provision exists and which cannot be postponed without causing an adverse effect to the public interest, the minister may make advances from the contingencies fund to meet that need.
In her report, Acting Auditor General Monica Besetsa listed the expense as incurred from the contingency fund for the first lady’s trip to Port Elizabeth to receive her honorary in the report of the auditor general on the consolidated financial statement of the government of Lesotho for the year ended March 31, 2019.