LEPOSA dragged to court

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Mohalenyane Phakela

LESOTHO Police Staff Association (LEPOSA) deputy president, Teboho Molumo, has petitioned the High Court to nullify his 13 March 2022 suspension by his fellow executive committee members.

Inspector Molumo was suspended for his alleged role in the seizure of LEPOSA property in November 2021 and the freezing of the association’s bank accounts in January this year.

Some of his LEPOSA colleagues accuse him and the now suspended secretary general, Inspector Moraleli Motloli, of conniving with Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli to seize LEPOSA property and have the association’s bank accounts frozen.

All has not been well in the militant police union which is now divided into factions.

In January this year, Inspectors Molumo and Motloli teamed up to open a case of theft against their LEPOSA colleagues, Lance Sergeant ‘Mathebe Motseki (treasurer), Senior Inspector Teboho Modia (president) and deputy secretary general, ‘Makatleho Mphetho.

This after the trio had allegedly withdrawn M179 000 from the LEPOSA account without the knowledge of Inspector Motloli.

Commissioner Molibeli, the officer Commanding Commercial Crime Counter Unit Detective Sergeant Molapo Magaga, and Attorney General Rapelang Motsieloa subsequently petitioned the High Court to bar Lance Sergeant Motseki, Senior Inspector Modia and Inspector Mphetho from accessing the LEPOSA accounts held with Nedbank, First National Bank (FNB) and Stanlib. They filed their petition on 9 February 2022. It is still pending in the court.

Prior to the opening of the M179 000 theft case, the accused trio had opened a fraud case of their own against Inspector Motloli for allegedly using a fake LEPOSA logo when he wrote a letter to Nedbank requesting the freezing of LEPOSA’s accounts. The letter to Nedbank is dated 22 January 2022.

In reaction to Inspector Motloli’s letter to Nedbank, Senior Inspector Modia then wrote to him on 28 January 2022 informing him that the LEPOSA executive committee had resolved to suspend him.

From Inspector Molumo’s latest court application, it would appear that his LEPOSA colleagues subsequently resolved to suspend him as well on 13 March 2022.

He states in his court papers that he only learnt of his suspension when he was going through his emails on 23 April 2022. He immediately sought legal advice which culminated in his latest application challenging his suspension, he states.

The LEPOSA national executive committee (NEC), LEPOSA, Commissioner Molibeli and Advocate Motsieloa are the first to fourth respondents respectively in Inspector Molumo’s application.

He argues that his suspension from LEPOSA executive is illegal and should therefore be set aside by the High Court.

“The decision to suspend me was made by the first respondent (LEPOSA NEC) on 13 March 2022,” Inspector Molumo states.

“Such a sitting (of the NEC) was however contrary to the Public Meetings and Processions Act as no permit was sought for such a sitting.

“Furthermore, the said meeting was not called at least seven days prior in line with the (LEPOSA) constitution. No notification of such was issued which I ought to have known by virtue of my position and also the third respondent being the Commissioner of Police, was never notified of such a meeting. Failure to abide by the law renders such a meeting and its resultant decision a nullity for want of legality.

“The decision was made unanimously by members of the first respondent (NEC). This despite the fact that legality of the membership of some of the members of the first respondent is a matter pending before the High Court. In light of such, the first respondent was in law not properly constituted to have been able to make such a decision. As a result, such a decision to suspend me is illegal.

“Furthermore, such a suspension falls short of legality on the simple fact that I was never given a pre-suspension hearing before such a decision was taken by the first respondent while I ought to be given a hearing based on the fact that the decision is prejudicial to me as it goes hand in hand with a sanction in that during the suspension, all rights and privileges that come with my position are placed in abeyance … it clearly violates my rights,” Inspector Molumo further states.

In terms of reliefs, he wants the High Court to “declare the proceedings held by the LEPOSA NEC on 13 March 2022 as unlawful and the suspension of the applicant as the vice president of LEPOSA as illegal and set aside”.

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