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Thabane accused lying, threatening His Majesty

Mohalenyane Phakela

PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane has been accused of lying to His Majesty King Letsie III that Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli had retired and should be replaced by Assistant Commissioner, Janki Hlaahla.

Dr Thabane made the claim in his 10 January 2020 letter to King Letsie III where he recommended the appointment of Assistant Commissioner Hlaahla in place of Commissioner Molibeli who has been at loggerheads with ever since the latter spearheaded investigations which culminated in the premier and his wife, First Lady ‘Maesaiah Thabane being charged with the 2017 murder of Dr Thabane’s former wife, Lipolelo.

Commissioner Molibeli has since filed a High Court application to set aside Dr Thabane’s decision to recommend his removal to His Majesty and his replacement by Assistant Commissioner Hlaahla.

When the application was heard Justice Molefi Makara on Thursday, Commissioner Molibeli’s lawyer, Advocate Tekane Maqakachane, accused Dr Thabane of lying to His Majesty that his client had retired and should therefore be replaced by Assistant Commissioner Hlaahla.

He also accused the premier of threatening the King to force him to act on his recommendation and appoint Assistant Commissioner Hlaahla.

“The critical factual departure point is 10 January 2020 which is the day the Prime Minister wrote to His Majesty the King informing him that the Commissioner of Police had retired therefore advising His Majesty to appoint one Janki Hlaahla by 12 noon the same day,” Adv Maqakachane said.

“The Prime Minister deceived His Majesty the King by saying Mr Molibeli had retired as commissioner of police whereas there was an out of court settlement which was made a court order the previous day sending Mr Molibeli back to work.

“In the same letter, the Prime Minister also threatened His Majesty the King to evoke section 91(3) of the constitution which gives him power to make constitutional decisions which will appear as if they were made by His Majesty the King himself. That is a complete abuse of power and lack of respect for the King by someone who took an oath to be faithful, honest and a servant of His Majesty.”

The Prime Minister, Police Authority, Minister of Police, Attorney General and His Majesty the King are the first to fifth respondents respectively.

Attorney General, Advocate Haae Phoofolo, appeared with one Advocate Cronje on behalf of the respondents.

Adv Cronje argued that Commissioner Molibeli’s application should be dismissed be dismissed on the grounds that it was not an urgent application.

Justice Makara however, adjourned proceedings and said the hearing will continue on Tuesday 25 February 2020.

Prior to this application which was filed on 12 January 2020, Commissioner Molibeli had filed another application challenging Dr Thabane’s decision to suspend him. An out of court settlement was agreed and endorsed by the High Court on 9 January 2020.

But on the very next day on 10 January 2020, Dr Thabane approached His Majesty to replace Commissioner Molibeli with Assistant Commissioner Hlaahla. This led Commissioner Molibeli to petition the High Court on 12 January to set aside Dr Thabane’s recommendation and an interim order was granted in his favour on that day.

The interim order stops the King from acting on Dr Thabane’s recommendation until the finalisation of Commissioner Molibeli’s application for a final order to set aside Dr Thabane’s recommendation on the grounds that it is “irrational and illegal and therefore unlawful and of no force and effect in law”.

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