The High Court yesterday postponed to 18 May a case in which Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Sello Mosili wants to block his transfer from the Criminal Investigation Service (CIS) to the Stock Theft and Detection Unit.
Justice Semapo Peete had to reschedule the case after King’s Counsel (KC) Salemane Phafane introduced himself as the new lawyer representing government in the case.
Mr Mosili, who is being represented by Attorney Khotso Nthontho, has cited Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Keketso Monaheng, Commissioner of Police Khothatso Tšooana, Minister of Police Monyane Moleleki and Attorney General Tšokolo Makhethe as first to fourth respondents in the case.
However, Justice Peete had to postpone the hearing after Attorney Nthontho insisted Advocate Phafane should submit a letter confirming his appointment to represent the respondents from the Attorney General.
The judge made the decision in his chambers where lawyers from both sides were present to sort out preliminary issues before ACP Mosili’s application could be fully argued.
Judges’ Clerk, Ramokhoro Makara yesterday confirmed the new developments in an interview with the Lesotho Times.
“Mr Phafane told the judge that he was representing the respondents, but the applicant’s lawyer insisted that he should produce a notice of his appointment from the Attorney General. The case was then postponed to 18 May to give Mr Phafane time to produce the said letter, and also prepare and submit his heads of argument.
“The postponement was also meant to give the applicant’s lawyer time to supplement their heads of argument,” Mr Makara said.
He also said the interim court order granted in favour of ACP Mosili was still in force. The High Court last month ordered that ACP Mosili’s transfer should be stopped until the case had been finalised.
This was after the officer had approached the High Court seeking an order stopping Mr Monaheng “from working and/or operating as the Commissioner of Police in the presence of the incumbent Commissioner of Police (Khothatso Tšooana).”
He also wanted the court to declare his transfer to the Stock Theft Detection Unit “irregular and null and void ab initio.”
In his supporting affidavit, Mr Mosili argued Mr Monaheng had no powers to transfer him because Police Commissioner Tšooana was in the country after returning from a three-month leave of absence which was part of the Maseru Security Accord signed in October last year.
Mr Mosili noted in the affidavit: “I ever that immediately after receiving a letter transferring me, I requested my counsel of record to write a letter intimating my stance.
“I felt that my rights were fragrantly violated by being transferred by DCP Monaheng, whom I know with respect, that he is not the acting Commissioner of Police because of the reasons elicited in Para 7 above.
“I am afraid that next week, there will be another person who will, by word of mouth, act in the position of the Commissioner of Police and I will be transferred again.”
In the paragraph he was referring to, Mr Mosili argued that Mr Monaheng “is not the Commissioner of Police and his acting appointment is fundamentally flawed.”
He further noted it was wrong for DCP Monaheng to be appointed acting Commissioner of Police when there was DCP Holomo Molibeli, who was still acting as the commissioner following DCP Masupha Masupha’s resignation.
“I have a clear right as a disciplined policeman to know that my transfer is done in accordance with the law and by the right authority,” he added.