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Lesotho: The Prime Minister and his Chinese Envoy…

Xie is probably the biggest corruptor in Lesotho”Mafa Sejanamane

We are living in interesting times, when the Kingdom of Lesotho and the political elite is corrupted by one man. In this day and age, the Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his family is easily corrupted by the naturalized citizen from China, this being Xie Yan or “John”. His been an businessman since the 1990s in the Kingdom. He has had a convenience store and two building companies registered by 2011. But by now 2018, he had 24 registered companies in Kingdom, while his also appointed as a special envoy and trade advisor of the Prime Minister.

Xie Yan or “John” is really involved in all sort of affairs. If it is the Wool War or the Red Meat ban, his been involved and ensure some high stakes. With the knowledge of his rise, his enterprises growing, while his in “office”. That should be concern in itself. This is like the Gupta’s of South Africa, but a smaller scale in the Kingdom. The Gupta’s didn’t even have any office in the Zuma Presidency, but still had massive influence over state owned enterprises. Just imagine how “John” can deal with things from his close association and connection with the Prime Minister.

With that in mind, I have some articles, where the man is mentioned and revealed his character. Like he stated himself in October 2018: “The problem with governments in Lesotho is that ministers are very slow. Everything about them is slow. They don’t have powers to make decisions,” ( Lekhetho Ntsukunyane – ‘Thabane Chinese Advisor Attacks Government’ 15.10.2018, Centre for Investigative Journalism). Now that is cleared, look at what people say about him.

Xie, known universally in Lesotho as “John”, is a naturalised Mosotho who arrived in Lesotho from China in 1990 and built a business empire that includes supermarkets, construction, farming and quarrying. He topped the news agenda and stirred heated debate when Thabane appointed him “head of special projects and the prime minister’s special envoy and trade adviser on the China-Asia trade network” in August 2017, immediately after forming his new government” (Lekhetho Ntsukunyane – ‘Chinese business tycoon reveals how he helped fund politicians in Lesotho – but denies claim of state capture’ 01.11.2018, amaBhungane).

The Minister of Local Government and Chieftainship Affairs Mahala Molapo has asked the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to speed up investigations into the awarding of the M340 million tender for the upgrading of Mpilo Boulevard Intersections. Last month the Principal Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Local Government, Khothatso Tšooana, sensationally claimed that he was ordered to award the tender to a controversial Chinese businessman Yan Xie’s UNIK Construction Engineering company” (The Night’s Watch – ‘HEAT RISES FOR ‘MAESAIAH AND PHORI, THE 4X4 GOVERNMENT’S TOP LIABILITIES’ 07.11.2019).

Mafa Sejanamane, Lesotho’s ambassador to Ethiopia and a representative to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), is a strong critic of Xie’s. In a lengthy editorial published by Lesotho’s MNN Center for Investigative Journalism this March, he wrote: “The picture which emerges out of Xie’s dealings is of an extremely devious person whose business modus operandi is one of a corruptor…Xie doesn’t care about those businesses as long as they are a front and a means through which he stays in the front seat for government tenders. He is a ruthless tenderpreneur. “Xie is probably the biggest corruptor in Lesotho,” Sejanamane concluded” (Lucy Papachristou – ‘Lesotho: Chinese Businessman Admits to Funding Top Politicians’ 06.11.2018, OCCRP).

I will end this part with the words of Lesotho Analysis:

Two things are important here:

a)all known businesses of Xie were closed while LRA went on with its investigations. It is not known whether and how much Xie settled his obligations since LRA does not disclose such issues about its clients unless there is a court order. But what is known is that Xie liquidated his businesses and months later resumed business under new companies. The old companies which owed LRA no longer existed. As a result of the closure and the liquidation of those companies a number of local companies which were owed money had no alternative but to write-off substantial amounts of moneys owed. One company whose records I have seen wrote off almost M500, 000 of the debts Xie’s company owed.

b) Xie also runs a lot of companies as a silent or a hidden partner. For example he ran a company called Jackpot Wholesalers which was under a different organisation as opposed to Jackpot Supermarket. He claimed then that he was not the owner but the financier of that wholesale. It was closed, but I have no confirmation that it was liquidated like the other companies. He has a string of such companies” (Lesotho Analysis, 21.08.2017, link: https://lesothoanalysis.com/2017/08/21/429/).

When a character who does this sort of shady dealings, whose involved in direct connection with Prime Minister and his cabinet. When his there and has the ability with his “office”. We can just imagine, how he will use his influence and possible funds to sway policies and regulations his way. To enforce his businesses and his associates. That wouldn’t be weird, but natural. To that extent, that his motivation is more money, easy monopolies and hopefully a sanctioned business-model, which gives astronomical growth for his companies.

As we have seen, in 2011 he had a few businesses, but by 2018 he had registered a dozen more. This while his been involved and knowingly helped the leadership of the day. With the help, he surely wants a “pay-off”, which will include kick-backs and government tenders. We can imagine the amounts scorned and funds eaten.

John” is taking the Kingdom of Lesotho for a fool. Thabane is facilitating it. Maybe, because John paid of his wedding and other family events. Maybe because John paid his rent while in exile. Who knows, but there is a relationship that is a gain for Xie Yan and not for the people. That should worry the King and his Court. Peace.

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