News Without Fear or Favour

 Molibeli intensifies war with LEPOSA

  • begins processes to fire police union’s secretary general Moraleli Motloli

Pascalinah Kabi

POLICE Commissioner Holomo Molibeli has intensified his war with the “rebellious” leadership of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service Staff Association (LEPOSA). He has initiated processes to fire its secretary general Inspector Moraleli Motloli.

Inspector Motloli has been asked by Commissioner Molibeli to “show cause” why he should not be dismissed from the police force for petitioning Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro to fire him (Molibeli).

He is the second-high ranking LEPOSA official on Commissioner Molibeli’s firing line.

LEPOSA national treasurer, Lance Sergeant ‘Mathebe Motseki was on 27 July 2020 slapped with a letter demanding she “show cause” why she should not be dismissed for her recent statements which allegedly tarnished the image of the police command.

Speaking earlier this month at the funeral of one Lance Corporal Thabang Molelekoa in Mafeteng, Lance Sergeant Motseki allegedly accused the police authorities of transferring some police officers as punishment for opening a case against former First Lady ‘Maesaiah Thabane for allegedly assaulting a Maseru man at State House in January 2019.

Lance Sergeant Motseki is also alleged to have accused the police command of failing to arrest Deputy Police Commissioner (DCP) Paseka Mokete after a female junior police officer accused him of sexual assault in April 2020. The case is now before the courts.

Lance Sergeant Motseki received the “show cause” letter on 27 July, the same day that Commissioner Molibeli instructed one Senior Superintendent Shale to warn police officers against the behaviour of “rogue” officers whom he said had openly rebelled against him.

A day earlier, the police command had issued a similar memo warning of tough measures against the “rogue” elements.

The fighting statements from the police command came barely a fortnight after LEPOSA asked Dr Majoro to suspend Commissioner Molibeli to facilitate investigations into the latter’s alleged criminal misconduct, maladministration and abuse of power.

The head of the police complaints and discipline department, ACP Motlatsi Mapola, also waded into the police union’s fight with Commissioner Molibeli by asking the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane to prosecute the top cop and one of his top assistants ACP Beleme Lebajoa for abuse of office after they allegedly protected ‘Maesaiah from being prosecuted for assaulting a Maseru man.

Commissioner Molibeli did not take LEPOSA and ACP Mapola’s pursuit of him lying down in light of his memos last week in which he warned of “rogue” police officers whom he said are “in open rebellion against the police command”.

The Lesotho Times this week established that Commissioner Molibeli had followed up on the memos and “show cause” letter to Lance Sergeant Motseki by initiating processes to dismiss Inspector Motloli for asking Dr Majoro to fire him.

Part of the 30 July 2020 “show cause” letter to Inspector Motloli reads: “You will recall that in your letter to the prime minister of Lesotho dated 14 July 2020, published in the Lesotho Times newspaper dated 23 July 2020 Volume 13 Issue 17, masquerading as the LEPOSA Secretary General, you launched an open rebellion against the Commissioner of Police by stating that the Commissioner of Police should be suspended from the Lesotho Mounted Police Service for he is abusive of his powers and mal-administering the institution”.

“You will further recall that you even threatened the Prime Minister in your said letter, trying to force him to bow to your rebellious demand and stated that, if he fails to suspend the Commissioner of Police you will have no option but to approach the courts of law to force him to do as you directed him.”

The letter was written by the LMPS’ human resource officer, Superintendent Marou on behalf of Commissioner Molibeli.

Supt Marou states that Insp Motloli attempted to persuade Dr Majoro to yield to “your ill-founded and rebellious demand” to have Commissioner Molibeli fired by “falsely” stating that there was an appalling policing environment within the LMPS which was likely to deteriorate into chaos and compromise the “already fragile” national stability.

“But you (Insp Motloli) failed to disclose that you are out to mobilise police officers to support your rebellious acts against the LMPS management, which the officers (sic) refused to buy into your campaign.

“You will not deny that you maliciously accused the Commissioner of Police of being biased in handling the cases of police brutality making reference to the case of Leribe where two suspects died in custody and one at the scene of crime.

“You will further not deny that you deliberately lied about this issue while you know very well that the case has to be referred to the magistrates’ court for an inquest to determine the possible suspects in the matter. You will also recall that in your said letter, you questioned the “intellect” of the commissioner of police, his “capacity and competency to lead and chart” the LMPS.

You will not deny that your said statement is not only insulting to the person of the Commissioner of Police, but also insubordinate, rebellious and disrespectful to him as the head of LMPS and even extends to the authority that found it befitting to appoint him as the Commissioner of Police (sic).

“You will not deny that you have no authority, whatsoever, to act as the advisor to the Prime Minister which the content of your letter has portrayed yourself as thus. Or to act as an oversight body of the LMPS or police authority (sic).

“You will not deny that taking in totality the content of your letter  (sic) reflect your sole intention is not only to publicly attack the Commissioner of Police and management of the LMPS, but also to advance your personal whims and interests as manifested therein camouflaging as LEPOSA secretary general and thereby subverting the good order, discipline or lawful authority and bringing the police service into disrepute (sic).

“On the basis of the foregoing, I have been instructed by the Commissioner of Police to demand from you, as I hereby do, reasons if any, why the provisions of Section 31 (1) of the LMPS Act of 1998 may not be invoked against you.

“Your written response is expected to reach this office within seven days of the receipt of this letter. Failure to give your written response within stipulated time will be construed as you have waived your right to make a required representation,” Supt Marou said.

Section 31 of the LMPS Act empowers the police commissioner to dismiss police officers after giving them an opportunity to defend themselves.

In his 14 July 2020 letter to Dr Majoro, Insp Motloli said Commissioner Molibeli should not be treated differently from other police officers who have been suspended to pave way for investigations whenever they were accused of misconduct.

He asked the premier to suspend Commissioner Molibeli until after he has been cleared of criminal charges stemming from a perjury case which a junior officer, Senior Insp Haleeo Leluma, filed against him earlier this year.

Snr Insp Leluma wrote to then Police and Public Safety Minister, Lehlohonolo Moramotse, on 1 April 2020 accusing Commissioner Molibeli of making false claims in his answering affidavit to a court case Insp Leluma had filed to stop the police boss from transferring him from Maseru to Qacha’s Nek.

The junior officer had alleged that Commissioner Molibeli had sought to transfer him from Maseru to Qacha’s Nek on the basis that there had only been one senior officer responsible for that district yet that was not the case.

Former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane had attempted to fire Commissioner Molibeli on the basis of Snr Insp Leluma’s letter to Mr Moramotse.

Mr Thabane said he had been advised that Commissioner Molibeli’s claims were false because there were three senior officers at the level of senior superintendent and two senior inspectors in Qacha’s Nek instead of the one senior alleged by the police boss. Mr Thabane accused Commissioner Molibeli of having committed perjury.

LEPOSA had backed Mr Thabane’s moves to oust Commissioner Molibeli but the former was barred by the courts from doing so. The courts ruled that Mr Thabane had acted unprocedurally in attempting to oust the police boss.

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