Molibeli sued over latest police promotions

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Mohalenyane Phakela

THE Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA) has petitioned the High Court to nullify the latest promotions of 58 police officers by Police Commissioner, Holomo Molibeli.

The promotions were made last month and last week.

LEPOSA alleges that Commissioner Molibeli violated the Police Service Act and other police regulations in that some of the promoted officers were made to skip other lower ranks. The militant police association also alleges that some of the officers were promoted despite that their previous promotions had been nullified by the High Court.

It also wants the promotions set aside on the grounds that they were not budgeted for and that Commissioner Molibeli did not inform the Minister of Police and Public Safety, Lepota Sekola, about them.

Commissioner Molibeli, the Staff Officer to Commissioner of Police, the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Human Resource Officer, Minister Sekola, Attorney General Rapelang Motsieloa and the 58 promoted officers are the 64 respondents in the application.

In its court papers, LEPOSA prays that “the promotions announced on 15 and 28 September 2021 and on 2 and 3 October 2021 by the first respondent (Molibeli) promoting the sixth to 64th respondents be reviewed, corrected and set aside as they are in violation of the Police Service Act of 1998 and the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (Administration) Regulations, 2003”.

In his affidavit, LEPOSA president, Senior Inspector Teboho Modia, states that the Police Service Act mandates the police commissioner to inform the police minister on all matters concerning the police force.

“I aver that the Commissioner of Police has made these promotions without informing the Police Authority (Sekola). He did not inform the Police Authority of his intended promotions contrary to the Police Service Act.

“…The promotions are a nullity as they were not budgeted for. I aver that the minister has always been indicating that the ministry of police does not have enough budget and he is still requesting money from the cabinet in order to fulfil the police plan (sic). Notwithstanding the non-availability of the funds, the Commissioner of Police promoted more than 50 police officers who ought to have been budgeted for at the beginning of the fiscal year,” Senior Inspector Modia states in his court papers.

He further argues that 10 of the police officers were promoted despite that their previous promotions were nullified by Justice Molefi Makara on 17 June 2021.

The 10 are Sub Inspector Nkhasi, Woman Police Constable Lefosa, Sergeant Monyane, Sub Inspector Chaka, Sub Inspector Raphoka, Sergeant Ramashamole, Sergeant Mzilikazi, Lance Sergeant Maseko, Lance Sergeant Sekatle and Lance Sergeant Leoma.

“I aver that it was unlawful that the Commissioner could promote the said officers, whose previous promotions were found to be unlawful, to yet another higher rank. The Commissioner, as the highest law enforcement officer in the Kingdom of Lesotho, is duty bound to lead by example and enforce the rule of law. But he seems to be the first one to stumble over the rule of law by a persistent disregard of the court orders and the authority of the courts over him.

“I aver that as a result, the promotions of the officers, whose previous promotions were reviewed and set aside, should therefore be declared null and void as they have clearly skipped ranks without any justification.

“I aver that as a result of not informing the Police Authority (Minister Sekola) about the promotions, not considering the Police Authority’s policing plan before making the promotions and others having skipped ranks, renders all the promotions unlawful,” Senior Inspector Modia argues.

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