Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro has denied ever speaking to controversial businessman, Yan Xie, over the latter's complaints about ministers seeking M3 million bribes to protect the Chinese businessman from losing his lucrative government tenders.
The premier also denies ordering Mr Xie to stop financing struggling local businesses which would have been awarded government tenders but without resources to implement them.
Dr Majoro this week rejected claims by Mr Xie that he had alerted the premier of unnamed cabinet ministers who had demanded bribes as high as M3 million each to talk the prime minister and his cabinet out of their alleged plans to cancel all government tenders controversially awarded to Mr Xie.
In a brief interview with this publication this week, Dr Majoro's press attaché, Buta Moseme, said contrary to Mr Xie's claims, the premier had not spoken to the businessman in a very long time. In fact, according to Mr Moseme, Dr Majoro had not spoken to Mr Xie ever since he became prime minister in May 2020.
"All the allegations made by Mr Yan Xie purporting to derive from a conversation with the prime minister have no basis in truth.
"The information I received from the prime minister is that he has not spoken to Mr Xie for a long time and certainly not during his tenure as prime minister," Mr Moseme said this week.
Dr Majoro's denial, through Mr Moseme, follows Mr Xie's claims last week that the premier had ordered him to stop financing local businesses because he had been widely attacked in the media over the Ministry of Home Affairs' controversial park homes tenders.
Also known as John, Mr Xie stands accused of defrauding four companies awarded the tender to supply the Home Affairs ministry with park homes in 2019.
The four companies were paid a total of M26 million by the ministry on 22 March 2019 but the money was allegedly fraudulently transferred into Mr Xie's accounts by the controversial businessman's employees.
It is alleged that Mr Xie had access to the four companies' accounts after he financed their tender bids.
It is alleged that he had funded them on the agreement that he would control 51 percent equity in each of the companies as well as gain access to their bank accounts to protect his investments.
He is said to have fled the country early last year for Australia to avoid possible prosecution for corruption in connection with various tenders he was awarded by previous governments especially the Thabane administration which lasted from June 2017 until 20 May 2020.
He however, denies fleeing and insists he will return to the country someday.
Last Wednesday he gave a telephonic interview to the Lesotho Times, saying he had stopped funding needy local companies on the orders of premier Majoro.
"The prime minister told me to stop financing Basotho companies. He (Majoro) sent me a clear message saying John stop financing these people. As a result, there are no companies that we are currently assisting," Mr Xie said last week from his base in Australia.
Mr Xie has previously boasted of funding virtually every politician and political parties in the previous governments including former prime ministers Thomas Thabane and Pakalitha Mosisili.
Last week, he however denied funding them in their personal capacities, saying he often did so when they approached him on behalf of underprivileged Basotho.
He said he therefore did not understand why people were unfairly accusing him of funding politicians in exchange for lucrative government tenders.
He said it was only now during this current Majoro-led government that some ministers had badgered him with requests for money for their own personal use.
"Only in this government (are ministers asking for money for themselves).
"Yes, there are ministers in this current government asking me for money and these are huge sums. There is somebody (minister) who came to us but I don't want to mention names. He said this government is after me and they want to cancel all my contracts.
"He said I must give him M3 million for him to talk to the prime minister and others (not to cancel the contracts). I sent that message to the prime minister a long time ago and I don't understand why they (ministers) have not stopped (asking for bribes). I sent two messages, three and six months ago," Mr Xie said.