Anti-graft body’s boss faces corruption charges

RELEBOHILE TSOAMOTSE

MASERU – Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) head, Advocate Mahlomola Manyokole (41), was this week hauled before court by an institution he heads. The DCEO is accusing Manyokole of corruption and money laundering. He is also accused of defeating the ends of justice allegedly for transferring monies which formed part of exhibits into the institution’s Criminal Asset Recovery Fund.

By resolving that the said money be transferred in the DCEO’s Criminal Asset Recovery Fund, it is said that Manyokole defeated the course of justice. According to the charge sheet, DCEO had in its possession M83 000 that formed part of exhibits and for the fact that the case from which the exhibits are taken from is incomplete, Manyokole is believed to have defeated the course of justice.

By so doing, Prosecution says Manyokole contravened Section 87 (2) of the Penal Act No 6 of 2010. The section states that “a person, who makes any statement or performs any act with the intention of defeating or interfering with the course of justice, commits an offence.” Also, it is said that when he permitted transfer of the money from DCEO and deposited it into the account, he contravened Section 25 of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act.

“In that upon or about the 7th and 8th January 2021, and or near DCEO offices, the accused person being the Director General of DCEO did acquire, possess, use property, convert and transfer with the aim of concealing and disguising the illicit origin or true nature of that property, movement, or ownership of the said property to wit by taking or removing the exhibit money in the amount of M83 000, the property belonging to the Clerk of the Court but is in his lawful possession by virtue of his position and causing the same property to be deposited into the DCEO Criminal Asset Recovery Fund held with FNB-Lesotho, knowing or having reason to suspect that such property is derived directly or indirectly from acts or omission which constitutes an offence in Lesotho or outside Lesotho,” reads the charge.

It is further alleged that by so doing, Manyokole abused functions of his office and is therefore guilty of corruption. “In that upon or about the 7th and 8th January 2021, and or near DCEO offices, the accused person being the Director General of DCEO did unlawfully and intentional abuses the functions or position of his office, in the performance or failure to perform and act, in violation of the law, or in the discharge of his functions for the purpose of obtaining an undue advantage for himself or for another person…”

Magistrate Teboho Those granted Manyokole free bail and asked all parties to return to court on March 4 to set hearing dates. The case is prosecuted Advocate ‘Malerato Ntsatsi. Manyokole had been on warpath with government after he was accused of incompetence and corruption. Law and justice minister, Professor Nqosa Mahao, eventually suspended and a tribunal set to investigate his office to hold office subsequently set up.

The anti-corruption boss then challenged his suspension and asked the court to nullify the establishment of the tribunal. High Court Justice Moroke Mokhesi on Thursday nullified Manyokole’s suspension but declined to nullify the appointment of the tribunal.

 

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