Prime minister’s office consumes disasters and cervical cancer funds

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By Mamello Mosaefane

The Auditor General Monica Besetsa’s report on the consolidated financial statements of the government of Lesotho for the year ended 31 March 2020 has revealed how former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s Office irregularly diverted nearly M1 million from the Disaster Management Authority and a Stop Cervical Cancer Outreach Account.

The report said M999, 608.75 funds from Disaster Management Authority and the stop cervical cancer account were used for other activities.

The auditor general said that “the audit has established that the activities which should have been financed from recurrent expenditure budget, were paid for from these 2 bank accounts and thus defeating the purpose of these accounts”.

Of the M999,608.75 utilized from the DMA account, the office used M 51,340.68 for repairs and maintenance of vehicles, M761,842.26 for fuel and lubricants, while M186,482.81 was paid for a subsistence allowance of Thabane and his delegation In attendance of 26th forum of the heads of state to Ethiopia in February 2020.

The report further revealed that after the trip to Ethiopia was canceled, Thabane and 3 officers returned the money that had already been paid to them for their travel, while Principal Secretary and the other 2 officers failed to return the money totaling M123,319.20.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister and his delegation consumed M875, 470.82 of the stop cervical cancer funds for their subsistence allowance to Belgrade, Serbia and Sochi, Russia as well as Canada for the Africa Accelerating Forum in 2019.

Besetsa’s report indicated there was no evidence of the Principal Secretary clearing the travel advances, resulting in the total amount of M 181, 497.43 still outstanding.