THE internal fights in the Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA) have intensified and are now in the courts.
This after LEPOSA treasurer, Lance Sergeant ‘Mathebe Motseki; president, Senior Inspector Teboho Modia; and deputy secretary general ‘Makatleho Mphetho, were accused of theft after allegedly withdrawing funds from the association’s accounts without the knowledge of secretary general, Inspector Moraleli Motloli.
Insp Motloli and LEPOSA deputy president, Teboho Molumo, subsequently reported the theft of M179 000 and a case was opened at the Maseru Central Police Station against the trio.
Prior to the M179 000 theft case, the three LEPOSA members also opened a case of fraud against Insp 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 the letter to Nedbank, Senior Insp Modia then wrote to Insp Motloli on 28 January 2022 informing him that the LEPOSA executive committee had resolved to suspend him.
And in the latest of events, the officer Commanding Commercial Crime Counter Unit Detective Sergeant Molapo Magaga, Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli and Attorney General Rapelang Motsieloa have petitioned the High Court seeking an order to bar Lance Sergeant Motseki, Snr Insp Modia and Insp Mphetho from accessing the LEPOSA accounts held with Nedbank, First National Bank (FNB) and Stanlib.
The case was filed on 9 February 2022 but is yet to be allocated a hearing date.
Lance Sgt Motseki, Snr Insp Modia and Insp Mphetho have been cited as first to third respondents respectively. Nedbank, FNB and Stanlib are fourth to sixth respondents accordingly.
In their court papers, Commissioner Molibeli and his co-applicants argue that Lance Sgt Motseki, Snr Insp Modia and Insp Mphetho are illegally withdrawing funds from LEPOSA. Therefore, they are requesting an urgent interdict barring them from accessing LEPOSA accounts.
“The representatives of LEPOSA opened a criminal case of theft on 2 February 2022 following unlawful debits of the LEPOSA account kept with the fourth respondent (Nedbank) account,” the applicants sate in their application.
“The first to third respondents (Motseki, Modia and Mphetho) are suspected of theft by withdrawing money from the association’s accounts without any authorisation from the secretary general (Motloli) who is chief accounting officer per LEPOSA constitution.
“The unlawful debits from the association’s account to the tune of about M179 000 made up of unlawful withdrawal of M52 000, M59 000 and M3353 and also an unlawful debit of M250 which is suspected to have been stolen from the LEPOSA account held at Nedbank.
“The first to third respondents have unlawfully facilitated to make the third respondent (Mphetho) a signatory to the LEPOSA accounts, thus making it easier to make illegal and unlawful debits in LEPOSA accounts.”
The applicants said the matter was urgent as Insp Mpheto was now “an unlawful signatory to the affairs of LEPOSA whose accounts are seen to be used as a conduit for” theft. Insp Mpheto’s access to the LEPOSA bank accounts also provides grounds to make more fraudulent transactions to prejudice the complainants.
Detective Sgt Magaga also states in his founding affidavit that a theft case was opened with his police department and investigations had revealed that Insp Motloli, Insp Molumo, LEPOSA national gender coordinator Makhotso Tlali and LEPOSA finance manager Mamentsele Chobokoane visited Nedbank on 29 December 2021 and discovered the unauthorised withdrawals which they argued that they were done without their knowledge.
“It is important to mention that the said withdrawal was neither authorised by LEPOSA nor (was it) to the knowledge of general secretary (Motloli) who is the chief accounting officer of the association, the person to approve office expenditure as per the LEPOSA constitution. Thus, making the withdrawals illegal and unlawful and tantamount to theft of LEPOSA funds.
“For a payment to be made out of LEPOSA accounts, there should be a requisition made for a service to be paid for, which should be approved by the secretary general. If the intended payment is approved, then funds from LEPOSA accounts will be withdrawn (on the strength of) the signatures of any two or all of these office bearers: Teboho Modia, Moraleli Motloli and Mathebe Motseki,” Detective Sgt Magaga said.
The transactions are also illegal because they were signed for by Insp Mphetho who is not authorised to perform that function, he says.