Police in yet another botched recruitment

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… alleged fraudster among those currently undergoing training

Moorosi Tsiane

IN a yet another case of bungling by the police command, a fraud-accused woman is among recruits currently undergoing training at the Police Training College (PTC) in Maseru.

Police and judicial sources this week told the Lesotho Times that Itumeleng Setjeo, who has a pending case before the Senior Maseru Resident Magistrate Peter Murenzi, is currently undergoing training in contravention of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS)’s own policies against recruiting convicted criminals and those with pending court cases.

This publication has also seen a charge sheet indicating that Ms Setjeo was charged with fraud after allegedly defrauding her former employers, Metropolitan Life, of M23 000 in 2020.

It is alleged that between May and July 2020, she misrepresented that six people had applied for life policies with Metropolitan Life. Due to that misrepresentation, Metropolitan Life paid her M23 000 for her ‘consultancy’ services.

“The said accused is charged with the crime of fraud in terms of section 68(1) and 109 of penal code act No 6 of 2010,” the charge sheet states.

“The said accused, who was at all material times employed by Metropolitan Life as a consultant on or about the period between May 2020 and July 2020, did unlawfully and with intent to defraud Metropolitan Life, misrepresent that the following people have applied for policy contracts with Metropolitan Life: Motiki Makoko, Mahlape Ramosoeu, Mosa Jonathan, Mponeng Ntelle, ‘Matlholiso Motiki Makoko and Moipone Tsopane.

“As a result of this misrepresentation, the accused induced Metropolitan Life to pay her the total amount of M23 000, 91 Lisente commission for acquiring those policies. The said accused, when she made the aforesaid misrepresentation, well knew that the aforementioned people never applied for such policies and did thereby caused Metropolitan Life actual prejudice of the said amount,” the charge sheet states.

Despite the charges hanging over her head, police sources say Ms Setjeo is still undergoing training at the PTC.

Police spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli, confirmed that Ms Setjeo was among the recruits. He however, said they were not aware that she had a pending criminal case.

“Yes, we have a person with such names,” Senior Supt Mopeli said in an interview.

“The truth of the matter is that we were not aware that she has a pending case but now that it has been brought to our attention we will address the issue.

“Yes, vetting was done but unlike when someone has been convicted, it’s not easy to identify those with pending cases,” Senior Supt Mopeli added.

Last year, the police botched the recruitment exercise by bringing in Lebatsang Rotheli, who had been convicted of arson and attempted murder.

Mr Rotheli was arrested and charged with arson after torching a neighbour’s house in Thaba Tseka. He was also charged with attempted murder for stabbing a female villager with a spear. He was convicted of the two crimes in September 2019 by a Thaba-Tseka magistrate who sentenced him to four years in prison with the option of a M4000 fine.

The magistrate suspended half of the sentence after Mr Rotheli had paid M2000.

A few months after his release, he was allegedly involved in yet another crime and the police launched an investigation into allegations of attempted murder.

Police sources said the new charges stemmed from his alleged involvement in a scuffle that broke out between him and two associates on one hand and Masaleng villagers on the other.

Earlier this year, the police also recruited 12 people only to later ‘expel’ them for allegedly being “medically unfit” and engaging in “unbecoming behaviour”.

However, the dozen successfully challenged their dismissal at the High Court.

The 12 are Moliehi Dlamini, Mokhethi Damane, Lebaka Matiea, Kopano Ramokhoro, Ngaka Lenka, Mojela Gugushe, Thabang Maime, Lechesa Lepheane, Poloko Sekhohola, Refiloe Kheleli, Moorosi Kalane and Sebongile Cekwane.

Judge Tšeliso Mokoko on 29 June 2022 ruled that Commissioner Holomo Molibeli’s decision to expel the recruits was “irregular and wrongful and therefore, null and void”. They have since been reinstated.

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