Molibeli fires LEPOSA spokesperson
POLICE Commissioner Holomo Molibeli has fired Lesotho Mounted Police Service Staff Association (LEPOSA) spokesperson, Police Constable (PC) Motlatsi Mofokeng.
PC Mofokeng was served with his dismissal letter on Monday barely a week after he lost his High Court bid to stop Commissioner Molibeli from initiating processes to fire him from the force.
High Court Judge Moroke Mokhesi dismissed his application to permanently interdict Commissioner Molibeli from firing him for allegedly concealing information that he was convicted of assaulting one Thabang Tsubane in 1999.
PC Mofokeng had filed his application last October in response to Commissioner Molibeli’s 9 October 2020 letter asking him to “show cause” why he should not be dismissed from the police force in terms of section 31 (1) (b) of the Police Act which states that an officer who gains admission into the police service through misrepresentation, concealing information and making a false statement in reply to any question should be fired.
In his “show cause” letter, Commissioner Molibeli had alleged that PC Mofokeng was tried and convicted in the Butha-Buthe Magistrates’ Court for assaulting one Thabang Tsubane in 1999. That was three years before PC Mofokeng applied and got admitted into the police force.
On 21 October 2020, High Court Judge Polo Banyane granted PC Mofokeng an interim interdict barring Commissioner Molibeli from firing him until the matter was finalised.
Commissioner Molibeli, former Police and Public Safety Minister ‘Mamoipone Senauoane and former Attorney General Haae Phoofolo were cited as first to third respondents respectively.
Justice Mokhesi heard arguments from PC Mofokeng’s lawyer, Advocate Vuyani ‘Mone and the respondents’ lawyer Adv Tekane Maqakachane on 18 March 2021 and reserved judgement.
In delivering his verdict last Thursday, Justice Mokhesi dismissed PC Mofokeng’s application, saying he should face the disciplinary process. There would be nothing peculiar if he was subsequently dismissed, the judge ruled.
He said the courts had no power to stop disciplinary processes that were already in progress except where there was a likelihood of a grave injustice occurring.
He said the courts could only review the decision of the disciplinary hearing when it had been finalised. The ruling cleared the way for Commissioner Molibeli who subsequently dismissed PC Mofokeng this week.
The LEPOSA spokesperson’s dismissal letter indicates that the decision to fire him was reached after he supposedly waived his right to a hearing last October.
The police’s human resources officer, one Superintendent Marou, states in the dismissal letter on behalf of Commissioner Molibeli that PC Mofokeng had been asked to make representations on why he should be fired but had failed to do so, preferring to go to court.
Superintendent Marou said PC Mofokeng had been furnished with all the further particulars he had requested to enable him to make his representations but had still failed to do so, preferring to go to the High Court where he won the temporary interdict granted by Justice Banyane before his main application was dismissed with costs by Justice Mokhesi on 22 April 2021.
“It is therefore irresistibly axiomatic that you have waived your constitutional right to make the required representation in this regard. It is on this basis of the foregoing that the Commissioner of Police has instructed me as I hereby do to inform you that you have been dismissed from the LMPS with effect from 26 April, 2021 in terms of section 31 (1) (b) of the Police Service Act No 7 of 1998,” Superintendent Marou states.
PC Mofokeng was also ordered to return all police uniform items issued to him while he was serving as Officer Commanding Special Operations Unit (SOU).
PC Mofokeng was not reachable for comment.
Ironically, PC Mofokeng and Commissioner Molibeli are close relatives.
Commissioner Molibeli is said to be the one who encouraged his nephew Mofokeng to apply to join the police force way back in 2002.
They however, fell out due to the ongoing fight between the LEPOSA executive and the police command. LEPOSA accuses Commissioner Molibeli of incompetence, bias in the promotion of police officers as well as failure to deal decisively with the scourge of police brutality.
On the other hand, Commissioner Molibeli accuses LEPOSA of insubordination and open rebellion against his leadership. He has denied allegations of harbouring personal vendettas against PC Mofokeng and other LEPOSA