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Defence ministry fires 44 ‘ABC members’

 

Keiso Mohloboli

THE Ministry of Defence and National Security has fired 44 office assistants for allegedly being appointed without the approval of the Public Service Commission.

Sources who spoke to the Sunday Express yesterday said the office assistants had also been accused by some ministry officials of being All Basotho Convention (ABC) members since they were hired during the previous administration led by Thomas Thabane.

According to the dismissal letters signed by Principal Secretary, Dr ‘Mampho Kotelo-‘Molaoa, the office assistants’ appointment by then Defence principal secretary, Sehloho Moshoeshoe, in March 2014 was unlawful because it had not been sanctioned by the Public Service Commission.

The similar letters, which are dated 25 February 2016, read: “Invitation to show cause why relationship between the parties may not be ended . . .

“1. On the 6th March 2014, you were written a letter purportedly appointing you as an Office Assistant in the Ministry of Defence and National Security.

“2. Subsequently, there was also a document signed by you and the Principal Secretary, giving effect to the purported (emphasis added) appointment. The document is often referred to as a letter of offer of appointment.

“3. Regrettably, I write to inform you that it has since turned out that neither the letter nor document referred to above had the authority/approval of the lawful appointing body for public officers, the Public Service Commission. You may wish to refer to section 137 (1) of the constitution. Section 6 of the Public Service Act of 2005 bears a similar provision.

“4. The sad reality is that, in law, there was therefore, no appointment at all. We were all operating under a misapprehension.

“5. It is in the light of the above that I regret to inform you that I intend to bring to an end any form of ‘employment’ relationship with you vis-à-vis the Ministry of Defence and National Security including effecting stoppage of the ‘wages’ you have so far been paid; and also withdrawing and cancelling the ‘appointment’ letter (so called) referred to above, including anything which arose therefrom.

“6. However, even as I intend to proceed in the manner described above, for fairness sake, the intention is that the end 31st March 2016 shall be the end of any relationship between you and the Ministry of Defence and National Security.

“7. It is possible that you may wish to comment on the matter in writing within the seven days of receipt thereof.”

Contacted last night, Defence and National Security Minister Tšeliso Mokhosi said he was unable comment on the matter and referred the Sunday Express to Dr Kotelo-‘Molaoa.

“I can’t comment on the issue but will advise you to contact the PS because I just arrived in the country yesterday (Friday),” said Mr Mokhosi.

The Sunday Express was unable to get a comment from Dr Kotelo-‘Molaoa until  the time of going to print.

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