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Govt descends on LEC, WASCO

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

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‘Marafaele Mohloboli/ Bongiwe Zihlangu

THE government has started investigating parastatals as part of its promise to curb the rot in state entities that have been bleeding the fiscus without commensurate results in terms of efficient service delivery to the nation.

The probe has begun at the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) and the Water and Sewage Company (WASCO).

The Lesotho Times has established that Natural Resources minister, Mohlomi Moleko, has ordered the two SOEs to furnish him with their financial statements for the past three years as well as documents relating to their corporate structures.

In a letter written on his behalf by Natural Resources principal secretary (PS), Lisema Lekhooana, Mr Moleko ordered WASCO CEO, Thelejane Thelejane, to furnish him with an organogram of the water utility, its audit management letter and minutes of board of directors’ meetings over the past three years.

The minister asked for documents indicating how much the board members had been paid as allowances over the last two years, their curricula vitae (CVs) and term limits.

He also demanded to be furnished with WASCO’s strategic plan and the list of its projects in order of priority, the status of implementation and rationale behind them.

According to the letter, this information should have been submitted to PS Lekhooana by yesterday.

LEC managing director, Mohato Seleke, has also been asked to furnish the minister with the company’s financial statements from April 2021 to March 2022 and audited management letters for the past three years.

In addition, he should also avail minutes of board meetings and the directors’ remuneration from April 2021 to date, their appointment letters, term limits and CVs.

The reform of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and other companies in which the government holds stakes is part of the ambitious 20-point action plan which Prime Minister Sam Matekane said his government must begin working on its first 100 days in office.

Speaking at his swearing-in ceremony at Setsoto Stadium on 28 October this year, the premier bemoaned the perennial failure of some SOEs to declare dividends and provide services to the public in line with their mandate. He subsequently announced plans to turn the operations of such companies and SOEs around.

Among other things, he tasked the government secretary, Lerotholi Pheko, to develop a plan showing how all SOEs will report to the government on their operations. He said the reporting plan should be developed within 30 days and made public.

The premier also demanded a report on all companies in which the government has shares. The report should detail which of these companies are actually paying dividends and it should explain why others are not paying anything. The government holds minority shares in all diamond mining companies in the country. It also owns a minority stake in mobile communications giant, Econet Telecom Lesotho.