Wasco reinstates ‘tainted’ CIA

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Wasco reinstates ‘tainted’ CIA
Wasco reinstates ‘tainted’ CIA

Africa-Press – Lesotho. A fortnight following the sacking of former Water and Sewage Company (Wasco) CEO, Futho Hoohlo, the company’s Chief Internal Auditor (CIA) ’Mafumane Kubu-Pitso, who was fingered in alleged acts of fraud and was suspended in March 2021, has been reinstated.

The reinstatement comes without completion of investigations into the charges levelled against as Kubu-Pitso is now being considered for the plusher post of Director Corporate Services (DCS).

Public Eye can today tell that Kubu-Pitso was swiftly reinstated, just a week after Hoohlo was given his marching orders by the WASCO Board of Directors, which fired him while he was still on sick-leave and having failed to see to conclusion investigations into the CIA’s alleged misconduct, as he himself was subjected to several suspensions leading to his sick-leave and subsequent expulsion.

This publication has established from impeccable sources that Kubu-Pitso was recalled from the seven months suspension last week and subsequently, mysteriously made it to the short-list for the position of DCS interviews, although she was not amongst the thirty-one candidates who had applied.

The closing date for applications was August 20, 2021. Kubu-Pitso, this paper understands, could not have applied for the post while on suspension and should not have made the list because the closing date for applications came while she was still on suspension.

Among the 31 candidates were two Wasco internal staff members who had applied for the post and were subsequently shortlisted, namely; the current acting DCS Kamohelo Hlomisi and Manager Training and Organisational Development, Limpho Debeshe.

Investigations by this paper have discovered that between February and March 2021, Kubu-Pitso made an irregular purchase order for the procurement of a private investigator to investigate Hoohlo, which was approved by the Wasco Board and signed former board member Pusetso Matekane.

The purchase order requisition was blank, more like an open cheque as it did not specifically state the amount of money required to cater for the services of the private investigator.

According to WASCO internal laws and guidelines, as the company’s CIA Kubu-Pitso, was not supposed to be part of operational transactions, which she is going to audit.

Secondly, the requisition was approved by Matekane, who was not a WASCO employee but a board member who had no authority to sign the company’s purchase requisitions. Thirdly, the requisition she made was approved despite having no prices as it was blank.

It was at that point that Hoohlo reported the matter to the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) personnel attached to Wasco, opening a case of fraud namely, Maseru Central RCI 74/03/21 in March, rendering Wasco under criminal investigation for corruption.

Soon thereafter, the Wasco Board, for the umpteenth time suspended Hoohlo, expelled LMPS officers attached to Wasco and cancelled the Wasco-LMPS memorandum of understanding (MOU).

The then DF Mangangole Tsikinyane, distanced himself from the whole saga and subsequently resigned from Wasco. Matekane resigned from the Board two months ago in order to apply for the vacant post Director Finance (DF), an office which works hand-in-glove with the CIA’s.

According to correspondence between Hoohlo and Kubu-Pitso seen by this paper, the latter who is directly accountable to the CEO, allegedly deliberately lied and misled an internal audit meeting and failed to provide evidence to assertions made in a report she had compiled.

While Kubu-Pitso vehemently denied and distanced herself from any acts of misconduct, Hoohlo was adamant that she needed to be investigated, thus placing her on suspension with full benefits.

On March 8, Hoohlo penned a show-cause letter to Kubu-Pitso entitled “Investigations into alleged lying and deliberate misleading of EXCO meeting”, to justify why she should not be suspended pending investigations into her conduct.

“The above matter bears reference.

You will recall that EXCO held a virtual meeting on or around 18 February, 2021 to discuss amongst others, Internal Audit 3rd Quarter Reports, which are produced by the department you head.

“The Suppliers Account Audit report, which you presented, alluded to “limitations” of the audit, and these pointed to information that was not made available by the auditee, namely the Financial Division despite requests from Internal Audit. In that meeting you were asked by the CLO&CS and myself to clarify this ‘limitation’,” Hoohlo noted.

“It is here where you indicated requesting the listed documents, from the Director Finance (DF), upon being reported to in September 2020, that these documents were never provided from the initial request at the audit entrance meeting, an allegation which DF has since denied ever having received such a request.

“You then indicated no recollection of whether or not DF was responsive to your request, but were quick to point out that the request emails you sent to DF, would jog your memory whether he replied or not.

The meeting was adjourned for ten (10) minutes to afford you the opportunity to retrieve the said e-mails. However, you came back mysteriously indicating that you could not find the e-mails.

To this day, you have still not provided the purported e-mails. ” Hoohlo told the CIA that due to the prevailing circumstances at the time, the serious allegations meant there should be an investigation into her conduct and gave her a week to respond.

“Having critically considered all the information, factors and circumstances to this matter, as your line manager, I have established that there are serious allegations of dishonesty and false accusations.

It is my consideration that it would be prudent that such allegations be investigated, and the investigation be concluded within reasonable time,” Hoohlo said.

“I have carefully considered that it is necessary the investigations are conducted freely, fairly and without interruption of any form.

Taking into account the seriousness of the alleged misconduct, it is my view that your continued presence at Wasco is likely to interfere with the investigations.

“You are therefore called upon, to show cause if any, in writing, within seven calendar days from receipt of this letter, why you should not be suspended from work, on full pay and benefits, pending finalisation of the investigations into alleged acts of misconduct.

On March 8, 2021 Kubu-Pitso attempted to defend her honour, saying she summed up the CEO’s letter as strongly suggesting that she was a liar, lamenting that Hoohlo did not give her ample opportunity to “clarify my stance and make you understand what happened”.

“Your letter dated 8th March refers.

If you permit me to summarise the content of your letter, in general, is that I lied and deliberately misled the EXCO in a meeting held on the 18th February, 2021, and I should show cause why I should not be suspended,” Kubu-Pitso wrote.

“My response is that I did not lie therefore, I should not be suspended. My reasons are thus: She said that she could not have explained herself in that meeting because she had felt ambushed and was under pressure.

“What happened was that was I was ambushed and blindsided therefore, my inability to locate communication e-mails made four (4) months earlier, required unexpectedly and under such pressure as it was on the 18th February, cannot mean that I lied.

The last straw was when you, in anger in the same meeting, instructed me to stop with my ‘smart answers’. This certainly denied me any chance to explain myself and clarify my stance,” she said.

“On 25th February 2021 I, desperately wanting to believe and convince myself that you genuinely wanted an understanding of what actually transpired, sent you a comprehensive sequence of events including communications that were made.

I had hoped that it would provide you with an even clearer picture of what happened and possible cause you to have a better understanding of what was actually happening.

” She told Hoohlo that her conscience was clear and that she hoped God would bless the former CEO “as you consider your course of action”.

“I did not lie. I had no reason to because I never planned to get anyone into trouble.

I had done my job and worked well with DF. I never plotted in my heart to make anyone’s life miserable. This is my truth and it sets me free. It gives me peace in my heart and a clear conscience. May the good Lord bless you as you consider course of action,” Kubu-Pitso said.

But on March 24, 2021 Hoohlo did suspend the CIA from duty with full benefits, in a letter entitled “Suspension from Duty Pending Investigations into Alleged Lying and Deliberate Misleading of EXCO Meeting”.

“My letter dated 8th March 2021 and your response letter, thereof, dated 15th March 2021 bear reference.

Having carefully considered your response, on the letter dated 15th March 2021, it is necessary that there be investigations into allegations levelled against you, pertaining to your conduct and performance on your duties. It is in the interest of the company that investigations are concluded freely, fairly and without interruption of any form,” Hoohlo wrote.

“In order for unobstructed and speedy investigations to be conducted, in addition to safeguarding and mitigating against any possible risks to the company, it is in the best interest of all parties to suspend you from duty, on full pay and benefits, with immediate effect (upon receipt of this correspondence), until investigations are concluded.

” He sternly added: “You are also not expected to access Wasco premises except with permission from management. Any change of status, hereof, shall be communicated in writing. You are further advised, during the period of your suspension, to be readily available during working hours, should you be required by management.”

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