Fresh headache for Molibeli

  • as LEPOSA demands M324 000 members’ subscriptions “owed” to it by the police command

Pascalinah Kabi

EMBATTLED Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli has a fresh headache to deal with. This after the Lesotho Mounted Police Service Staff Association (LEPOSA) gave him a seven-day ultimatum to pay up an alleged M323 499 debt or risk being dragged to court.

LEPOSA claims the police command owes it the money which was allegedly deducted from the March 2018 salaries of police officers who are members of the police union.

The subscriptions issue is the latest battlefront in the ongoing war between the militant police union and Commissioner Molibeli.

For more than a year now, the two sides have been at each other’s throats over a plethora of issues.

LEPOSA accuses Commissioner Molibeli of bias and incompetence in handling the grievances of its members.

It accuses Commissioner Molibeli of entrenching his power by unprocedurally promoting his close allies like Deputy Police Commissioner (DCP) Paseka Mokete and Assistant Police Commissioner (ACP) Beleme Lebajoa.

It also accuses the police boss of failing to address the scourge of police brutality which could cost Lesotho the multi-million-dollar second compact under the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) if left unaddressed by February next year.

LEPOSA has since petitioned Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro to fire Commissioner Molibeli. LEPOSA has also filed a Constitutional Court application seeking the revocation of his powers to dismiss police officers without affording them a hearing.

Commissioner Molibeli has fought back by dismissing senior LEPOSA officials like its national treasurer Lance Sergeant ‘Mathebe Motseki.

The police boss has also begun processes to dismiss LEPOSA’s secretary general Inspector Moraleli Motloli and public relations officer, Motlatsi Mofokeng.  He has also written strongly worded memos to police officers, warning of “rogue” police officers whom he said are “in open rebellion against the police command”.

In the latest round the infighting, LEPOSA now accuses Commissioner Molibeli of frustrating its activities by withholding M323 499 that it is entitled to as subscription fees deducted from its members in March 2018.

LEPOSA’s lawyers, M.J. Motsoari Chambers, first wrote to Commissioner Molibeli, on 17 August 2020, demanding that he pays the said arrears into its bank account by within seven days of receiving its letter to him.

“Our client informs us that its members’ contributions have at all material times been deducted from their salaries and deposited into the Lesotho Mounted Police Service’s salaries accounts, and afterwards the same (contributions) would be deposited into LEPOSA’s account,” Motsoari Chambers states in the letter to Commissioner Molibeli.

“Our client informed us that this has at all times been happening without any hurdle. However, to their surprise and dismay, your good selves have failed to deposit an amount of M323 499, 45 into LEPOSA’s account for the month of March 2018 without any justification.

“Our client further informs us that through its national office bearers, they have tried to get this matter resolved but to date this has not been resolved…It remains clear that whereas deductions were made from members, such have never been deposited into LEPOSA’s account. It is as if the said money has disappeared without a trace.

“Our client has therefore instructed us…to demand that you process the said money to be deposited into its account within seven days from receipt of this letter. Please note that failure to comply with the demand herein will leave us with no option but to approach the courts of law for a fitting relief.”

On 25 August 2020, Commissioner Molibeli replied to the letter. He requested LEPOSA to provide its bank statements from April 2013 to March 2018 to help him ascertain if there was any truth to the police union’s allegations that it was owed any money for its members’ subscriptions.

“The office of the commissioner of police (COMPOL) acknowledges receipt of your letter concerning the claim of M323 499, 45 arising out of the purported omission to deposit the same into LEPSOA’s account.

“You are kindly advised that the office of the COMPOL (payroll) is investigating the matter and requests that you avail the association’s bank statements from…April 2013 to March 2018 for reconciliation purposes in order to ascertain if there has been such an omission; which shall then be followed by an appropriate remedy,” one Superintendent Lephole states on behalf of Commissioner Molibeli.

LEPOSA is having none of it and it wrote back to Commissioner Molibeli on Monday saying it did not see how the bank statements from 2013 would be of any use in resolving its claim for March 2018 arrears.

It gave him a seven-day ultimatum to pay up within seven days or face legal action.

“Clearly if the said amount (alleged March 2018 arrears) was ever deposited into LEPOSA’s account, it would be evidenced by a payment voucher…which should be in your possession. We also would like to remind your good selves that the reconciliation process you are referring to has already been done through the office of the Accountant General.

“We therefore would like to demand that the appropriate remedy you are referring to be effected within seven days from receipt of this letter failing which we intend to approach courts of law for an appropriate remedy. Please also note that we believe that the matter could be resolved amicably…We urge you to comply with the said demand,” LEPOSA states in its Monday letter to Commissioner Molibeli.

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