TWO former senior National Security Service (NSS) officers who allegedly defrauded the government over M6 million in salaries were on Tuesday this week released on M5 000 each by the Maseru Magistrate’s Court.
March 23, 2023
2 min read
Two NSS officers in court for over M6 million fraud
The Maseru Magistrate's Court
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The accused include Tau Makhalemele, 49, of Mahobong, Leribe who was around January 2016 employed by the Ministry of Defence at the NSS as the Director of Human Resources.
His co-accused, Teboho Liau, 43, of Masowe 1 in Maseru was around the same time engaged as NSS’ Human Resources Manager.
It is alleged that the two defrauded the government by processing the salaries of 50 intelligence officers who were never actually hired.
On January 26, 2016, the former Director General (DG) of NSS, Mohlakana Lerotholi made a request to the Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Defence to fill 50 vacancies of intelligence officers.
The court heard how the request was granted by the PS and an advertisement was issued in February 2016 inviting interested candidates aged between 18 and 25 in possession of Cambridge Overseas School Certificates (COSC) and Diploma qualifications to apply.
The closing date for the applications was on March 10, 2016.
It is further alleged that later that month, DG Lerotholi retired from the NSS, and his deputy, DDG Lealimo Makakole who held the position of DDG Administration became the acting DG.
During that time, the recruitment process did not proceed, hence, interviews were not held, the court was also told.
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The court papers before Magistrate Thamae Thamae reveal that both Makhalemele and Liau directed NSS employees in the salaries Department to process the ‘questionable’ salaries in accordance with the positions and grades filled.
It is alleged that at the time of the misrepresentation, the accused knew that the people who were receiving salaries from the NSS payroll were not employed by the intelligence service.
As the result, the government suffered actual prejudice in the amount of M6 422,761.99 in the form of salaries.
The court this week released the accused on condition that they do not interfere with Crown witnesses, attend remand hearings and stand trial to finality.
The matter has been remanded to April 4.