Maseru bribery: Canadian firm charged

South African Press Association (Johannesburg)
February 19, 2002

A Canadian firm of contractors, Acres International, was charged with two counts of bribery in the Lesotho High Court on Tuesday in connection with the two-nation Lesotho Highlands Water Project.

The leader of the prosecution team, advocate Doguido Penzhorn, SC, said in the outline of the Crown case that evidence would be led that Acres International paid bribes totalling Canadian dollars 681316 to intermediaries who transferred the money to the Swiss bank account of the former chief executive of the Lesotho Highlands Authority, Masupha Sole. It is alleged that the two intermediaries were a Lesotho civil engineer — the late Zalisiwonga Bam — and his wife Margaret Bam. The prosecution alleged that the monies were paid into Sole’s Swiss bank account in 1991 and also in 1998.

According to Penzhorn the court will be asked to draw “the inescapable conclusion” that the payment of these monies to Sole by Acres International, was intended as bribery.

The hearing continues.

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