‘Mokela fires back
Following allegations that Tšeliso ‘Mokela ‘captured’ the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA), he charges the only ‘capture’ is currently happening.
“I can start by telling you now that the current CEO’s selection was below the normal selection processes followed when filling that position. The requirements were reduced to fit her standard. She is the first CEO who doesn’t hold post graduate qualifications and does not have over 10 years in management. When compared with me, I served as a Principal Secretary of the Communications Ministry for 10 years.”
“If this is a battle, I am going to defend and it is not going to be nice. I always advise that one should not throw stones when they know they live in a glass house. I am planning to fire back and it is going to leave all involved parties with bruises,” ‘Mokela said.
He explained to this reporter that the Communications Act of 2012, Section 5 speaks about the powers of the authority.
“Subsections (a-z) outline all the powers bestowed upon the authority and that forensic audit of theirs is not covered in those sections, therefore it is illegal. It is a witch hunt targeting my head and politically influenced. I assure you it will not take them far. I am not afraid,” he said charging that the auditors were not appointed transparently.
“I have information that even that particular company appointed to perform the task was not appointed according to the LCA procurement policies. That job was not advertised. They just took a collective of Basotho National Party (BNP) youth members, and that in my view is a move to steal the authority’s money which I worked very hard to raise.
“When I got there, the authority didn’t have money and I am proud to say that in my last year, we had made a surplus of M22.2 million compared to their normal surplus of M3 million annually previously. I assumed office in 2015, September 1,” he crowed.
He added, “On the power of the authority section, subsection (w) indicates that the authority shall designate an entity to administer internet domain names and that is exactly what LsNIC was mandated to do. It was established by the law. Subsection (x) indicates that the authority shall facilitate the establishment and administration of internet infrastructure elements and both sections clearly outline just what the company was established for.”
‘Mokela explained that prior to his arrival at the authority, there was a proposal concept paper that was prepared by ntate Posholi and submitted to the board at the time and the paper was requesting the authority to resolve the establishment of the company to manage internet infrastructure of Lesotho and it was prepared in May 2015.
“The paper was rejected due to challenges. Ntate Phosholi left a note when he vacated office that there was a pending issue and pursued it until it was successful. This paper sought access to the said concept paper and managed,” he said.
The concept paper requested the establishment of LsNIC and according to the 2015 May Board meeting minutes seen by this reporter, the board rejected the paper because it did not have a starting budget attached to it.
“Management did not provide sufficient information to motivate the proposal. The paper did not have financial breakdown of activities or projections for future activities,” the minutes seen by this paper read adding that the terms of appoint be made specific.
The minutes, however, indicated that the board resolved to approve the company structure.
The further extraordinary meeting minutes seen by this paper approved a budget of M2.7 million which would be sourced from the Universal Service Fund managed under the Authority.
Refusing to comment on the minutes noting he can’t remember details since he doesn’t have the documents, ‘Mokela confirmed that prior to the establishment of LsNIC, Lesotho’s internet infrastructure was managed by Rhodes University from the early 90s, which later asked Lesotho to prepare to manage its internet.
“The Communications Act had provided for it thus it was simple to establish the entity. I want it to be clear Tšeliso ‘Mokela didn’t make isolated decisions outside the board. The establishment of the company was resolved by the board.
“The board after my presentation accepted that such a company be established and a manager be engaged,” ‘Mokela said adding the company’s management was responsible to its separate board.
“Its board was made up of a representative from the Ministry of Communications, Network Operators, Banks and Institutions of Higher learning as interested parties. I was indeed selected to be the chairperson of the board, however I recused myself appointing Nthabiseng Pule to sit on the board along with the LCA Chief Legal Officer of the authority. I have never sat on the board and these points I am making is to show that the establishment of that company was legal.”
“The challenge with people who are employed by the LCA in the decision making positions don’t have any knowledge of the sector. They are all hired under political agendas. That is why the very governing laws are shunned,” he charged stressing that “Whatever audits or investigations embarked upon are a battle levelled against ‘Mokela as a person.”
“I have sued the ministry for unfair dismissal, these are all tactics to try and find something to help the minister defend this case. It is very unfair that after being fired unfairly, they are still going after me, levelling all sorts of allegations.
“That kangaroo court of theirs is going to backfire on their faces because I am sitting confident, they have noting on me.
“In my view my contract was supposed to be renewed for another term because my performance was sterling, and the numbers speak volumes. According to my contract, if I failed they could have terminated and since they didn’t, that means I was performing well,” he said confirming that instead of responding to the LCA call, he requested the DCEO to investigate him.