“…Like any company their proposal for the tender met the requirements and won …”
By MPHO Shelile
MASERU – The Minister of Public Works and Transport Hon. Neo Matjato Moteane at a press briefing which was held at public works offices at Maseru on the 2nd August this year stated that progress has been made in the ongoing investigations carried on Lesedi Technical Engineering Consultancy (LTE) pertaining to its corruption issues. LTE was hired by the government of Lesotho to offer its consultation services concerning the renovations of Moshoeshoe 1 International airport.
Hon. Moteane stated that yes, it is true that the company LTE which was later changed to Lesedi Technical Engineering Consultancy is faced with allegations that it was hired under political influence. However it is going to be a process to void the contract they have with the government, adding that eight (8) million maloti has already been paid for the work which has already been accomplished.
“Upon my reign in this office, I thought our relationship with LTE needed to be suspended due to the following reason; the first one being there were allegations which have been circulating for over two years now questioning/stating that the actual procurement of services from LTE had been flawed but those issues were ventilated and dealt with. There second being of the proceeds regarding LTE contract indicating that they were politically influenced. Furthermore, it does seem like some stakeholders in LTE did finance one or two political parties hence I felt the project needed to be put on a temporary halt to address those issues. The other reason was the scope of the work going to be done had materially changed. There was supposed to be a project of about M800 million done but the funds available were only 51 million. Therefore it was important for us to question if we indeed employed this person for the right amount of money to do something that is entirely different” said Hon. Moteane.
PS. Tsepang Koele stated that when they began working with Lesedi Technical Engineering consultancy (LTE), they did not know about any court cases regarding LTE. She said that just like any other company they submitted their proposal for the tender, met the requirements and won the tender. She stated that the media has a right to know the truth and publish what is right, but they will invite LTE sometime in the future so that the questions they could not answer will be answered.
“I know that some of our contractors were laid off in 2020 without remuneration, but we are looking into that and promise that they are going to get their wages very soon” she said. Stating that they owe them approximately 9 million which they intend to pay, she pleaded with those in charge to ensure that indeed it does happen. When asked on how the money will be provided yet the government states to not have any, she said they will keep on begging until the government hears them.
DPS Mr. Katiso Ntoane says they did hire LTE in 2020, and this was done in a rush because there was an inspection going to be carried out by the world committee which focuses on aviation, he stated that they did not hire LTE knowing of the allegations but when they heard about the allegations they took the necessary steps to investigate LTE and the investigations are still ongoing. Noting that they awarded them the contract on basis that LTE had changed its name to Lesedi Technical Engineering consultancy. They only learnt at a later stage that the company was being liquidated, thereafter they took the necessary steps to find out if the allegations were true.
He further stated that after LTE was awarded the tender some other companies did come forward with their concerns, but those were also dealt with, and in November 2021 the government signed the contact with LTE which allowed the company to be the one advising the government regarding the renovations of the airport, and that contract stated that LTE was to be paid 33 million maloti for its services for the duration of four years, and shortly after LTE commenced its working.
“But already in 2021, rumors stated that LTE according to reports, a provisional liquidation application had been launched by a creditor of LTE Consulting in the Johannesburg High Court. And we did do proper investigations regarding that” he said. He also implored with the media to give them time while the court works on the case so that they will be in a position to answers which are much needed.