MASERU – Former commissioner of mines, Tšeliso Ntabe, has been linked to a lucrative drilling and blasting tender at the Liqhobong Mining Development Company allegedly awarded to a joint venture of South Africa-based Basil Read and a Maseru-based Makamics Pty (Ltd) in 2017.
Public Eye investigations have revealed that Makamics is a mining company equally owned by three businesses, Makana Mining and Civils (Pty) Ltd, Merero Mining Group (Pty) Ltd and ’Mesamohloane Investment Cooperative Society. Ntabe is linked to the cooperative society. Makamics was registered in December 2016, the same year Ntabe was appointed commissioner of mines. The following year, 2017, Makamics’ joint venture with Basil Read was allegedly awarded a tender by the Liqhobong Mine and it is alleged Ntabe was intimately involved in the deal.
At the time of the transaction, Makamics whose business activities include “mining of iron ores” and “mining of other non-ferrous metal ores” was less than a year old and had no track record in mining. Asked on Tuesday to comment about the allegations, Ntabe denied any wrong doing on his part, saying: “I am not a commissioner of mines,” adding he was given marching orders a long time ago. “I was suspended indefinitely last year, pending investigations. I never heard from the ministry from that time until I received a dismissal letter. I, however, did not challenge my dismissal,” he said.
He could, however, not be drawn to explain his association with either Makamics or ’Mesamohloane Investment Cooperative Society. “Doesn’t that company (Makamics) have its board of directors? I think those are the right people to give you all information pertaining to their company,” he said. He suggested that this paper’s sources should substantiate information linking him to Makamics before he can be confronted with the allegations and requested to respond to them.
“I don’t understand what I am being accused of here. Am I accused of being a shareholder of a shareholder of a shareholder?” he further queried, requesting to excused before hanging up the phone saying he was in a meeting. The spokesperson of the mining ministry Rorisang Mahlo confirmed to Public Eye that Ntabe was suspended pending investigations before his dismissal in September 2017. It is still not yet clear when in 2017 a joint venture of Liqhobong Mine and Basil Read along with Makamics appended their signatures on a final mining drill and blast contract.Default Basic Success warning Info Danger Primary