Ex-water chief must serve 18* years
April 15, 2003

Maseru: The Lesotho Court of Appeal on Monday confirmed the conviction of the former head of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority on 13 counts of receiving bribe money from international contractors and consultants.

Masupha Sole appealed against the Lesotho High Court conviction and sentence last year for receiving bribe money from international contractors and consultants through intermediaries. He was bribed to use his influence and position as CEO of the water scheme to award lucrative contracts to build the giant water project, one of the biggest and most ambitious dam projects in the world.

Sole was sentenced to 18 years jail for receiving more than $1 million from international contractors and consultants from the United States, Britain, Canada, France and Germany.

In its judgment, the full bench of the Lesotho Court of Appeal said Sole occupied “a position of importance and influence” in the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority, and that evidence showed “exclusively” that contractors and consultants paid him considerable sums of money at least in the expectation that he might use his position to benefit them.

The contractors and consultants operated banks in Lesotho and South Africa. In another appeal, Sole lost an application against recusal of the Irish judge Brendon Cullinan who presided over his bribery trial.

AMENDMENT: Although, the appeal against the convictions was dismissed, the appeal against the sentence succeeds to the extent that the sentence was reduced to 15 years in total. The sentences on counts 17 and 18 (one year imprisonment on each) are to run concurrently with the sentence of 15 years.

Full judgment:

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