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Molibeli faces money laundering probe

by Lesotho Times
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Pascalinah Kabi

POLICE Commissioner Holomo Molibeli could soon be investigated for alleged money laundering by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO).

This after the Lesotho Mounted Police Service Staff Association (LEPOSA) wrote to the anti-graft body to investigate him for his alleged failure to account for more than M300 000 the police service allegedly owes LEPOSA.

The police union, which has been at loggerheads with Commissioner Molibeli over various issues for the past three years, has also written to Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and his deputy Mathibeli Mokhothu over the issue.

The money laundering charges stem from Commissioner Molibeli’s alleged failure to instruct the police service’s accounts department to deposit LEPOSA membership fees amounting to M323, 499 into the association’s bank account.

According to LEPOSA, the M323, 499 in question was deducted from its members by the police service in March 2018 but to date, the money has not been deposited into the police union’s account.

It says this is just a ploy by Commissioner Molibeli to frustrate LEPOSA’s administrative work by withholding the money. Last September, lawyers representing LEPOSA wrote to Commissioner Molibeli, demanding that the money be deposited into the association’s bank account within seven days.

Commissioner Molibeli responded by requesting LEPOSA to provide its bank statements covering the month of April 2013 to March 2018 to allow investigations into its claims that it was owed money by the police service.

LEPOSA responded by saying it did not see how the bank statements for as far back as April 2013 were of any assistance in the execution of its demand for the funds which had allegedly not been remitted to it by the police command.

Commissioner Molibeli’s subsequent failure to act on LEPOSA’s demands has forced the police union to petition the DCEO to act against him.

In its 14 May 2021 letter to acting DCEO Director General Advocate Sefako Seema, Dr Majoro and Mr Mokhothu, LEPOSA said it had no option but to ask the DCEO to investigate Commissioner Molibeli.

“The administration of our noble association herein referred to as LEPOSA has taken a decision to refer the matter to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences for a criminal enquiry against commissioner of police. The efforts to trace this money have yielded nothing but a prima facie of money laundering case against him,” LEPOSA secretary general, Inspector Moraleli Motloli, states in his letter.

Dr Majoro’s press attaché, Buta Moseme, said the office of the Prime Minister had only seen the letter on social media while Mr Mokhothu, Commissioner Molibeli and DCEO spokesperson ‘Matlhokomelo Senoko were not reachable for comment on the issue yesterday.

The alleged money laundering issue is the latest in the long-running feud between Commissioner Molibeli and LEPOSA. Among others, the police union also accuses the police boss of bias and incompetence in handling police grievances. It alleges that since taking charge in August 2017, Commissioner Molibeli has unprocedurally promoted his close allies like Deputy Police Commissioner (DCP) Paseka Mokete and Assistant Police Commissioner (ACP) Beleme Lebajoa.

Spirited efforts by LEPOSA to get Dr Majoro to fire Commissioner Molibeli have hit a brick wall as the premier’s main ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) is said to be protecting him. It remains to be seen if Dr Majoro and his ABC will give in to the demands of its coalition partner, Mr Mokhothu’s Democratic Congress (DC), which is said to have demanded that Dr Majoro fire Commissioner Molibeli as its condition for remaining in the current governing coalition.

The DC and the ABC are the two main parties in the year-old coalition government which has been rocked by last month’s split of the ABC which saw its deputy leader Nqosa Mahao and nine legislators break away to form the Basotho Action Party (BAP).

The ABC-led government was only saved from collapse by the DC which reiterated its commitment to seeing the government last its tenure until next year’s elections expected to be held in September 2022 earliest. The DC’s 27 MPs are crucial to the survival of the government especially now that the ABC is only left with 35 MPs.

Together the two parties have a combined 62 seats, only one above the threshold required to form and keep a government. They nonetheless enjoy the support of other smaller parties with a combined 18 seats.

But it has since emerged that behind the public display of unity, there continues to be intense lobbying by the DC for the ouster of Commissioner Molibeli as its reward for backing the ABC.

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