Jail for former Lesotho Highlands chief
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MASUPHA SOLE, THE FORMER CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE LESOTHO HIGHLANDS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, was sentenced earlier this month to 57 years in prison for accepting bribes from international corporations. Sole will have to serve 18 years of the total sentence as some of the sentences run concurrently.
The disgraced former CEO was convicted on 13 counts of bribery and fraud, for taking bribes from international consultants and contractors to induce him to grant lucrative Lesotho Highlands Water Project contracts to them.
Eleven fraud sentences will run concurrently and the two bribery convictions are consecutive.
Judge Brendan Cullinan said that the sentences must “express the public abhorrence with what has transpired, and in particular, emphasise that Lesotho will not tolerate corruption”.
Sole had collected at least R6 million ($600,000) in bribes over nine years.
Cullinan said that thousands of men had worked in the freezing cold tunnel excavations through the mountains but Sole betrayed their trust by following the “lure of filthy lucre”. Cullinan also spoke of the damage to the reputation of the whole country.
Sole is likely to appeal against the sentence.
Some of the contractors allegedly implicated in the original charges have faced difficulties in tendering for work elsewhere, particularly Bouygues of France, which has been seeking a stake in the so-called Gautrain railway project that is set to be built between Johannesburg and Pretoria in South Africa.