Lesotho Prime Minister caught up Gupta-linked scandal

Lesotho Prime Minister caught up Gupta-linked scandal

- Evidence has emerged that state capture extended to South Africa's neighbours

- The Prime Minister of Lesotho has been implicated in a deal with the Gupta family involving millions of rands

- The mining rights to a diamond mine were sold the a company whose sole director was Salim Essa, a close friend of the Guptas

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Information has come to light that the Lesotho government gave mining rights to a Hong Kong-based company called Tequesta Group worth $8.5-million (R99-million).

The sole director of the Tequesta Group was Salim Essa a close business partner of the Gupta family. Bokang Ramatšella, an opposition politician wrote a letter to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences notifying them of the deal.

Briefly.co.za learned that the anti-graft group subsequently focused on the Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his son, Potlako according to the citizen.co.za.

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Ramatšella revealed that Thomas and Potlako Thabane orchestrated a deal with allowed Tequesta to acquire the mining rights at Mothae Diamond Mine.

Lesotho-based MNNE Centre for Investigative Journalism (MNNCIJ) and amaBhungane uncovered information that the government, through former mining minister Tlali Khasu gave the rights to the Gupta-linked group.

Thabane denied that he gained anything from the deal and was only trying to promote investment and development in Lesotho.

The damning evidence also revealed that the Guptas had offered to help fund his re-election campaign in 2015. The documents show that the Gupas has donated as much as $10-million (R116-million).

Potlako is reported to have denied any partnership, saying: “I’m a businessman and a politician as well – people come to me with proposals. They [Guptas] went to register a local company, but nothing came out of it. They just talked … I think we wanted to be partners, but it never happened.”

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When pressed if the Guptas had actually helped fund Thomas' campaign Potlako said that as soon as the Guptas got the mine they stopped all forms of communication with the prime minister.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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