WASCO and ECONET Telecom Lesotho default on loans

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By Lineo Ramatlapeng

Acting Auditor-General Monica Besetsa has raised concerns over the Water and Sewage Company (WASCO) and the Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL) failure to repay their multi-million Maloti loans.

In her Audit Report on the consolidated financial statements of the government of Lesotho for the year ended March 31, 2019, Besetsa said government lends or on-lends loans to state-owned enterprises and other entities for specific purposes consistent with its development policy objectives.

She further adds that the borrowing state-owned enterprise is obliged to pay interest and repay principal sums to the government in accordance with the terms and conditions agreed between the parties.

In her audit concerns, Besetsa said “Telecomm/Econet did not make repayments on principal amounts and payments of interest charges on two projects during the year under review”.

“Telecomm has defaulted for three years since 2016/17 and once again it is in arrears of the principal and interest totaling M101, 664, 945 and M 103, 799, 388 respectively at the end of 2018/19,” Besetsa said.

For Wasco, Besetsa said it defaulted in the two financial years of 2016/2017 and 2017/2018.

“In 2016/2017 Wasco did not make payments on both the principal and interest on four projects,” said Besetsa.

During the financial year, 2017/18 Besetsa said Wasco repaid the principle of M48, 814, 728 for one project and it did not pay interest amounting to M22, 122, 728 for 5 projects and principal repayments of M105, 727, 566 for 4 projects.

As stated in the report, in 2018/19 Wasco failed to make repayments on the principal and interest charges for 5 projects and was in arrears of principal repayments and interest charges to be tune of M17, 553, 572 and M154, 423, 223 respectively.

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