Top cop fired ahead of court appearance
A case in which Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Sello Mosili wanted to block his transfer has been postponed to Tuesday next week following revelations the officer had since been fired.
The case was set to proceed in the High Court on Monday this week but the lawyer representing the respondents, Salemane Phafane, told Justice Semapo Peete it would not be necessary to proceed as Mr Mosili’s contract had been terminated.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Keketso Monaheng, Commissioner of Police Khothatso Tšooana, Minister of Police Monyane Moleleki and Attorney General Tšokolo Makhethe, are the respondents in the matter.
Advocate Phafane told the court: “I have been informed by my clients that the applicant’s contract of employment with the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) or government of Lesotho was terminated through a letter dated 12 May 2015.
“I have whispered to my learned friend (Attorney Khotso Nthontho) before commencing proceedings for him to take further instructions from his client in the matter.
“The proceedings have now been overtaken by events, and it would only become academic if we proceed.
“If this is correct, I don’t see the need for us sitting here as your Lordship will recall this matter is about a transfer of a serving member.”
However, Attorney Nthontho held a different view, and told the court he had not seen the termination letter.
“I haven’t had an opportunity to look at the letter (of dismissal). I’m also aware the letter was written about six days ago but has not reached my client.
“In any event, it is prudent that this case proceeds in light of the fact that there should be jurisprudential precedence in this case,” Attorney Nthontho said.
However, Advocate Phafane told the judge that Mr Mosili had signed the letter on Monday this week, to acknowledge its receipt.
It was after this statement that Justice Peete adjourned proceedings to enable Attorney Nthontho to discuss the matter with his client.
“It’s important that we adjourn these proceedings until Tuesday next week at 11am,” Justice Peete ruled.
Mr Mosili last month filed an urgent application in the High Court seeking an order stopping DCP Monaheng “from working and/or operating as Commissioner of Police in the presence of the incumbent Commissioner, (Khothatso Tšooana).”
He also wanted the court to declare his lateral transfer from the Criminal Investigation Service (CIS) where he was the head, to the Stock Theft Detection Unit (STDU) “as irregular and null and void ab initio.”
In his supporting affidavit, Mr Mosili argued DCP Monaheng had no powers to transfer him because the substantive LMPS Commissioner, Tšooana, was in the country after returning from the special leave he undertook under the Maseru Security Accord in October last year.
However, Mr Monaheng still wrote the transfer letter last month, prompting Mr Mosili’s litigation.
Mr Mosili argued in the affidavit: “I aver 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 seven above.
“I am afraid that next week there will be another person who will, by word of mouth, act in the position of Commissioner of Police and I will be transferred again.”
In the paragraph he was referring to, Mr Mosili argued Mr Monaheng “is not the Commissioner of Police and his acting appointment is fundamentally flawed.”
He 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 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.