Asset Recovery Watch

ARW-116
Lesotho Highlands Water Project / Jacob Michael du Plooy
South Africa
Chief executive of the Lesotho Highlands Development Agency (Masupha Ephraim Sole, 1986-1995) and former delegates of Lesotho on the Highlands Water Commission (Reatile Mochebelele and Letiafuoa Molapo); Acres International Limited (Canada); Lahmeyer International GmbH (Germany); Impregilo SpA (Italy); Jacobus Michiel Du Plooy (Impregilo intermediary); Spie Batignolles (France)
Lesotho
Undertaking Recovery Effort, Location of Recovery Effort
1999
2003
Art.16
No
Criminal Prosecution; Criminal Fine
Unknown
Cooperation in investigation but mechanism unknown
Successful collaboration of OLAF [European Anti-Fraud Office] in prosecuting the European companies involved; mutual legal assistance from Switzerland in the prosecutions (Source: LL Thetsane and GH Penzhorn SC, "Case Study: The Lesotho bribery prosecutions," presented at Conference on the Protection and Optimization of Public Funds - the Cooperation between National and International Authorities, Rabat, May 14-16, 2007); World Bank investigation and debarment of involved companies, Acres International and Lahmeyer International GmbH (Source: World Bank, "World Bank Sanctions Lahmeyer International for Corrupt Activities in Bank-Financed Projects," Press Release No: 129/2007/INT, November 6, 2006, which noted "Once the indictments [in the case] were announced in mid-1999, the World Bank provided extensive evidentiary support to the Lesotho prosecutors and made bank staff available for interviews.")
Completed
Final Judgment (No Appeal)
$67,114
No
N/A

According to the decision by the Lesotho High Court, Mr. Du Plooy pleaded guilty to bribery and in September 2003, was sentenced to pay a fine of US$67,114.  (Source: R v Du Plooy (CRI/T/111/1999), 2003 LSHC 122).  The case arose out of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which the Lesotho Court of Appeal as "[0]ne of the biggest and most ambitious dam projects in the world, which entailed inter alia the construction of the Katse Dam in a remote and inaccessible part of the highlands of Lesotho."  (Source: In the matter between: Ephraim Masupha Sole and The Crown, Lesotho Court of Appeals, Case (CRI) 5 OF 2002, Judgment dated April 13, 2003).  According to the 2003 Lesotho Court of Appeal judgment, the High Court of Lesotho had found Masupha Ephraim Sole, chief executive of the Lesotho Highlands Development Agency, guilty of accepting bribes from various multinational companies that were attempting to secure contracts related to the project.  In an earlier dispute involving Mr. Sole, the government hired Ernst and Young, whose audit discovered that Mr. Sole had Swiss bank accounts into which the project contractors and consultants had placed large sums of money.  Four multinational companies also were convicted or pleaded guilty in the case. (Please see other Lesotho Highlands Water Project entries.)

According to the Lesotho Court of Appeal, Mr. Masupha Ephraim Sole, chief executive of the Lesotho Highlands Development Agency, was found guilty of accepting bribes from various multinational companies in connection with the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. According to the decision by the Lesotho High Court, Mr. Du Plooy pleaded guilty to bribery and in September 2003, was sentenced to pay a fine of US$67,114.  (Source: R v Du Plooy (CRI/T/111/1999), 2003 LSHC 122).

European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)
Director of Public Prosecutions of Lesotho
High Court of Lesotho; Court of Appeal of Lesotho