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Top BNP official suspended



MASERU – THE Basotho National Party (BNP) secretary general, Tšepo Lethobane, was suspended last week after he allegedly embezzled party funds. The party’s spokesperson, ’Masetota Leshota, confirmed the development to thepost on Monday. She said Lethobane is suspected of embezzling party funds collected from its property rentals. Leshota said only the party treasurer is “responsible for the party funds, according to our constitution”. She said investigations by the party had revealed that Lethobane had instructed some tenants to deposit their rentals into his personal Ecocash and M-Pesa mobile money accounts. “Tenants are given sub-lease agreements when they rent office space and are provided with the party’s bank account to deposit monthly rentals,” Leshota said. “While the treasurer was doing his job of paying the (party) workers, amongst the others, he discovered that some rentals had not been deposited into the account despite that the tenants had paid.” She said after this discovery, the treasurer formed a committee to investigate the matter. “The committee sat last Wednesday and gave the national executive committee a report,” she said. She said the report suggested that Lethobane could have embezzled some funds. “The report insinuated that he instructed (the tenants) to deposit the money into his personal Ecocash and M-Pesa accounts,” she said. She said it is believed that Lethobane could have tricked the tenants because they knew him as representing the owner of the building, which is the BNP. “He is the one who issues the receipts after rental payments, so they thought there was nothing wrong with depositing the money into his accounts,” she said. She said after the report was tabled before the national executive committee, which Lethobane is part of, a decision was reached that he should step aside “while investigations into how many tenants had injected their funds into his accounts continue”. Leshota said once this is established disciplinary action will be taken against Lethobane. She said Lethobane is suspended until investigations are complete so that recommendations of what should be done are made. “Maybe he will appear before a disciplinary committee or the NEC will decide otherwise,” she said. “I should state that the NEC can recommend to the leader to suspend a member of the NEC if need be.” She said it is wrong to pay someone else when the sub-lease agreement is clear that the monthly rentals should be paid to the party treasurer only, she said. Lethobane confirmed that he had received his suspension letter on Monday, saying he did not want to discuss the matter in depth. “I only received the suspension letter, not an indictment,” Lethobane said. Nkheli Liphoto

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