Former Lesotho executive guilty

James Lamont
Financial Times
May 22, 2002

The Lesotho High Court yesterday found Masupha Sole, the former chief executive of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority, guilty of bribery associated with a World Bank-financed project to supply South Africa with water.

Mr Sole was found guilty of accepting bribes from international consultants and contractors involved in developing the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. The $8bn (£5.5bn) water-transfer project piped water from the Lesotho mountains to Gauteng, South Africa’s industrial hub, from 1998.

The case threatens to embarrass some of the biggest names in construction engineering. Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners of the UK, ABB, the Swiss-Swedish group, Impregilo of Italy, Acres International of Canada and Sogreah, Dumez and Cegelec of France are under suspicion of paying bribes to Mr Sole. They have denied the charges. But if found guilty they could be barred from World Bank-financed projects.

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