March 18, 2004
Mohale: Foreign companies were the prime movers in the corruption of Lesotho officials in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, President Mbeki said this week.
Opening Phase 1B of the giant project to bring water to South Africa, Mbeki said agents of the companies had enticed local officials “with huge amounts of money to afford them special favours”.
This had come out during the judicial processes against the agents, he said in Mohale, Lesotho.
Mbeki praised the Lesotho government for its successful prosecution of the culprits in the bribery scandal.
“The manner in which the Lesotho authorities have handled this project has ensured increased investor confidence in present and future major development programmes that are undertaken in this part of the world,” Mbeki said.
He said Lesotho’s campaign against the corruption in the project had also greatly increased co-operation between the prosecuting and law enforcement agencies of Lesotho, the European Union and South Africa as well as international development agencies.