A sub-lease under which Lesotho's Chief Justice, Nthomeng Majara, occupied a lavish Maseru mansion belonging to High Court judge Teboho Moiloa continues to be in force despite a draft government audit report that condemned the arrangement six months ago. By Billy Ntaote for MNN CENTRE for INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM.
A preliminary government audit report, compiled by Lesotho's finance ministry's internal audit division in March 2017, scrutinised the financial accountability of the judiciary from 2011 to 2016. On the deal between Majara and Moiloa, it found that:
No traceable procurement procedures preceded the signing of the agreement;
The sub-lease costs the judiciary a monthly 27,000 Maloti (M), while the Chief Justice's housing benefit is set at M4,000 (R4,000) a month;
Public service regulations rule out the letting of properties between the Chief Justice and another member of the judiciary.
The deal, signed by the High Court and Court of Appeal registrar Lesitsi Mokeke on the judiciary's behalf, was first reported by The Post newspaper and local radio stations. The MNN Centre for Investigative Journalism (MNNCIJ) saw the sub-lease this week.
Judges in Lesotho never speak to journalists or grant media interviews, instead using the registrar as their spokesperson.
Mokeke dismissed the audit...