IT is not surprising that the M50 million that was earmarked to relieve individuals and small businesses has generated much heated debate, with allegations that government officials and ministers who were appointed to administer it have stolen it.
June 10, 2022
3 min read
Covid-19 money needs full investigation
Minister of Finance, Thabo Sofonea
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Opponents argue that it has taken far too long to distribute all of the money given the extent to which the majority of society live on hand outs and therefore qualify as beneficiaries.
So far, only M15 million has been distributed and it needs no rocket science to quantify that more than half of two million people live in abject poverty and should have received the money a long time ago.
The degree of concern is justified given the parallels of criminal cases where millions of maloti have been looted by civil servants and politicians, violating and undermining the very institutions to which they are custodians. You may recall there is yet another M50 million under probe within the Ministry of Finance where officials made payments to bogus companies for services that were never rendered.
Up to so far, the case is still in court but there is no indication that the perpetrators will see the full might of the law except for the preliminary investigations that have temporarily interfered with their lives while they still get their monthly salaries from government.
There are reports of missing taxpayers’ money here and there and it is apparent that there are people out there who are determined to enrich themselves with impunity.
No doubt, corruption is rife in this country given numerous audit reports that have revealed embezzlement of billions of maloti with no amount of action thereof or politicians have only paid lip service to the detriment of taxpayers.
Both the ruling and opposing parties have failed to enforce the law after the perpetrators have been exposed, yet they have no difficulty to come back to the electorate to campaign to be voted back into office.
It does not matter how many businesses do not qualify for the Covid fund, but there is more than a million people who desperately need the M500 to buy food.
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No amount of information or verification is required except for government to come clean about what happened to the outstanding M35 million. The complex relationship between government officials and civil servants who were entrusted with the Covid money should be entangled.
It is also an indictment on the voters for their delinquency to ignore obvious wrongdoing as they reward corruption with their votes every now and then without demanding accountability. Obviously, there is no difficulty to establish who the real culprits are but we are so used to living with chronic corruption that it has become so hard to get off its nipple.
Whether we like it not, it will always come back to haunt us, inevitably manufacturing generations of corrupt individuals as reflected by our society. Old habits die hard. For as long as we shall pretend self-enrichment at the expense of the taxpayer is justified, and for as long as we feel it is okay because it is done by one of us, then justice is doomed.