Corruption mitigation framework for next LHWP phase

Significant preparatory work and construction have begun on Phase 2 of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), with a panel established to select the members for an Independent Oversight Committee (IOC) to review, maintain and monitor the integrity of the project, Engineering News reports.

The IOC, expected to be functional by April 2015, will provide an independent assessment of and quality control for the implementation of the cross-border project processes, as well as advise and recommend appropriate intervention measures that will ensure the attainment of the project’s mandate.

In 2012, former LHWP CEO Masupha Sole was convicted by a Lesotho court for accepting bribes during the first phase of the project, which was completed in 2004, while the World Bank blacklisted Canadian consultant firm Acres after discovering that it had paid bribes to Basotho officials. The firm closed down shortly thereafter.

In addition, some other British and German companies were sanctioned and the Basotho officials who accepted bribes were jailed, some of whom received considerable sentences.

The Lesotho Highlands Water Committee (LHWC) chief delegate for South Africa Zodwa Dlamini says that, given the scale of Phase 2, there are compelling reasons to establish an independent oversight function to limit the potential for more corruption and to incorporate such oversight into the project governance structure.

By: Sashnee Moodley

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