IN a controversial move, Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli has dismantled the police’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) headed by his nemesis, Deputy Police Commissioner (DCP) Beleme Lebajoa.
He has since resolved to transfer the investigators to other police departments.
In a recent letter to the 10 investigators in the unit, Commissioner Molibeli said he was dismantling the SIU because it had fulfilled its mandate. The unit was set up in 2017 to investigate file profile criminal cases in the country. However, the investigators are of the view that the unit was dismantled by the police boss as part of his fight against DCP Lebajoa. The latter has taken umbrage at the decision, saying Commissioner Molibeli did not consult him before dismantling the unit.
A letter to one of the affected officers dated 27 July 2022, informs him that he was being transferred from Police Headquarters following the disbandment of the SIU.
The letter signed by Staff Officer to the Commissioner of Police, one Senior Inspector T.C Majoro, further asks the officer to “show cause” why the intended transfer should not be effected.
“I have been directed by the Commissioner of Police to inform you of his intention to transfer you from police headquarters to … This follows the disbanding of the SIU team after fulfilling its obligation.
“You are therefore required to indicate reasons, if any, why this transfer may not be effected. Your response should reach this office within two days of receipt of this letter,” the letter states.
It further informs the officers that failure to respond within the stipulated period would be construed to mean that they have waived their right to make the required representation. The officers were given two days to respond.
“We received the letters on 28 July 2022 to ‘show cause’ why we shouldn’t be transferred. But we have all refused to be transferred because there is still a lot of work to done,” one of the officers said.
The investigator told the Lesotho Times on condition of anonymity yesterday that the transfers were political.
“We are totally against the decision because we know that it is politically motivated. We just happen to be caught in between the fights in the police administration. The Commissioner has lost touch with what is happening in the organisation. Remember, he still has a case to answer before court where he is challenging his dismissal over allegations of incompetence,” another investigator said.
The investigators said they had responded to the letters through their lawyers.
They also said they had learnt that some new investigators had already been appointed to replace them and this would not take this lying down.
Commissioner Molibeli’s claims that the SIU was dismantled because there are no more cases to be investigated were not true, they said.
“We still have some cases under investigations. One of them involved the shooting to death by police of a National University of Lesotho student on 16 June 2022. We are still awaiting a directive from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Hlalefang Motinyane.
“We are also still probing the disappearance of 75 guns from Mafeteng police station last year,” one investigator said.
The investigators accused Commissioner Molibeli of transferring them unilaterally without communicating with DCP Lebajoa as the head of the SIU.
Another letter signed by Human Resource Officer S.J Marou read, “You are hereby informed that the Commissioner of Police is intending to transfer you from CID Admin to PHQ Special Investigations in terms of Section 4 of the Police Service Act No.7 of 1998.
“You are therefore required upon the receipt of this letter to show reasons, if any, why this contemplated transfer may not be effected.
“Your response is expected to reach the Human Resource office Police Headquarters on or before Wednesday the 3rd August 2022,” it read.
DCP Lebajoa last night said he had not been officially informed about the transfers of investigators in his department.
“Yes, I know that my investigators received transfer letters but nothing has been communicated to me officially by anyone. So I don’t have anything to say at the moment,” he said.