Molibeli bans donations to LMPS
POLICE Commissioner, Holomo Molibeli, has banned his subordinates from accepting gifts and donations from individuals and organisations without his express approval.
The ban comes hot on the heels of a donation to a police station by a politician, a development that has prompted fears that the police might be compromised by the donors ahead of next year’s crunch general elections.
In a 26 February 2021 memo to his subordinates, Commissioner Molibeli states that, “it has come to the notice of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) management that there are some people, either as individuals or organisations, who donate goods to the LMPS police stations or police posts to enable effective and efficient daily operations of such police stations or police posts.
“Though the management embraces the benevolent acts from the public, you are reminded that no members of LMPS should accept any gifts or donations of any form without prior approval of the Commissioner of Police.”
The ban comes barely a week after Democratic Congress (DC) political activist, Joseph Ntakha, donated stationery to various police posts which he said had been failing to enroll cases reported to them by the public due to the shortage of stationery.
Led by Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu, the DC is the second biggest party in the governing coalition which also includes Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) and other smaller parties.
Commenting on the issue, Mr Ntakha said he was surprised by Commissioner Molibeli’s memo and he felt the ban on donations was specifically targeted at him as other individuals and organisations had previously donated to the police force without encountering any obstacles.
“I am tempted to think that this ban is directed to me personally after I donated some stationery to some police stations,” Mr Ntakha said in an interview with the Lesotho Times this week.
“I made the donation after learning that the stations couldn’t effectively assist people who needed to open cases as they had no stationery. I didn’t see anything wrong with donating and I still don’t see any wrong even now.”
Mr Ntakha however, conceded that he had used the donation to campaign for his DC party ahead of next year’s general elections.
“This is an initiative I did in my personal capacity but I was later approached by my political party associates who also wanted to help out and I accepted. I am not going to stop donating because the people are struggling to get services due to shortages of basic things like stationery.
“I have also told the beneficiaries that when casting their votes on election day next year, they should remember my Democratic Congress party,” Mr Ntakha said.
On his part police spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli, said the ban on donations was not targeted at a specific individual “but merely an enforcement of existing laws”.
“Section 1 (2) of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (administration) Regulation of 2004 states that, ‘A member of the police service commits a disciplinary offence if the member, without the knowledge and approval of the Commissioner, accepts directly or indirectly any gratuity, present or reward from any member of the public in respect of anything done by him or her in the discharge of their duties’.
“Besides, the acceptance of such gifts and donations may be misinterpreted by some people. It might even be taken to mean that the police service and individual police officers are now indebted to the donors hence the move to ensure that all donations are approved by the commissioner beforehand,” Senior Supt Mopeli said.