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LEPOSA SG sues Molibeli

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Mohalenyane Phakela

A FRESH fight has broken out between Police Commissioner, Holomo Molibeli, and Lesotho Mounted Police Service Staff Association (LEPOSA) secretary general, Inspector Moraleli Motloli.

This after Inspector Motloli dragged the police boss to court for allegedly failing to reinstate him to the force after the termination of his secondment to the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) in June 2020.

In addition to reinstatement, Inspector Motloli also wants the High Court to order Commissioner Molibeli to pay him salary arrears from May 2020.

In his court papers filed this week, Inspector Motloli alleges that Commissioner Molibeli seconded him to the DMA on a three-year contract with effect from 1 April 2020.

He said his secondment was however, terminated on 3 June 2020 by then Cabinet Principal Secretary (PS) Lefu Manyokole.

He said then Police and Public Safety PS, Matela Thabane, subsequently wrote to Commissioner Molibeli informing him of the termination of his secondment and ordered his reinstatement to the police force.

However, Commissioner Molibeli never reinstated Inspector Motloli. This prompted the latter’s lawyer, Adv Tlohang Mohanoe, to write to Commissioner Molibeli on 21 September 2020 asking him to implement Mr Thabane’s order to reinstate Inspector Motloli.

Exasperated by Commissioner Molibeli’s repeated failure to reinstate him, Inspector Motloli this week petitioned the High Court to order Commissioner Molibeli to comply with Mr Thabane’s directive. The application will be heard on 8 March 2021.

Commissioner Molibeli, the Police and Public Safety PS, the Ministry of Police and Public Safety and the Attorney General are the first to fourth respondents respectively.

In his court papers, Inspector Motloli argues that Commissioner Molibeli has refused to reinstate him to punish him for being a member of LEPOSA which has clashed with the police boss on several occasions over its members’ welfare issues.

“I aver that there is no basis in law and in fact why the respondents refuse to reinstate me to my work and ultimately pay me my salary,” Inspector Motloli states in his founding affidavit.

“As a result, the respondents’ conduct to refuse to reinstate me and pay my salary is illegal, unlawful and wrongful. It is an arbitrary measure to punish me out of spite caused solely by the fact that I am a member of LEPOSA which in most cases is against the first respondent’s conduct towards the welfare of the police members in general.

“I am still a member of the LMPS as I have not been dismissed. It was the sole decision of the first respondent (Molibeli) to put me on that special assignment. It was also the decision of the concerned parties to withdraw the assignment. It is on the basis of these facts that I have a clear right to receive my salary and be paid all the arrears that have not been paid until such time I cease to be a police officer. Until then, I should be paid accordingly.

“I aver that I have suffered irreparable harm and the harm is continuing with every day that passes for as long as I do not get paid my salary which is the source of my livelihood. I have no other alternative but to approach this court in the manner I have done as my legal representatives tried to write to the first respondent to enable him to right this situation but all in vain.

“I aver that I have a legitimate expectation to be paid my salary especially when my non-reinstatement is not through my fault at all. The first respondent is the one who refuses to reinstate me on the grounds only known to him,” Inspector Motloli states in his court papers.

Commissioner Molibeli and Inspector Motloli have been at loggerheads for a long time over the several issues involving the police command and the LEPOSA executive committee.

On 14 July 2020, Inspector Motloli petitioned Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro to fire Commissioner Molibeli for alleged incompetence including the failure to deal decisively with the thorny issue of police brutality.

Commissioner Molibeli did not take Inspector Motloli’s attempts to get him fired lying down. Two weeks later on 30 July 2020, the police boss ordered Inspector Motloli to “show cause” why he should not be dismissed over LEPOSA’s petition to Dr Majoro to fire him.

This prompted Inspector Motloli to approach the Constitutional Court to clip Commissioner Molibeli’s powers to fire police officers.

In October 2020, the Constitutional Court bench comprising of Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane and Justice Polo Banyane declined to nullify section 31(1)(i) of the Police Act which Commissioner Molibeli relied on to dismiss police officers.

It however ruled that Commissioner Molibeli ought to afford police officers a fair hearing before dismissing them. It also ruled that LEPOSA members had a right to freedom of expression and association. Commissioner Molibeli has not moved to fire Inspector Motloli since then.

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