Majoro withdraws bid to oust Molibeli
- move was initiated PM Majoro’s predecessor, Thabane.
PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro has withdrawn a bid to suspend Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli to facilitate investigations into allegations of perjury against the top cop.
The move to suspend Commissioner Molibeli was initiated by Dr Majoro’s predecessor, Thomas Thabane, in April this year. However, Mr Thabane’s government collapsed on 11 May 2020 and he subsequently stepped down on 19 May 2020 before the case was finalised. Dr Majoro, who replaced Mr Thabane on 20 May 2020, decided against pursuing the suspension of the top cop. This paved the way for an out of court settlement which was endorsed by the High Court on 6 June 2020.
Mr Thabane wrote to Commissioner Molibeli on 15 April 2020 asking him to “show cause” why he should not suspend him to facilitate investigations after a case of perjury was filed against him by one of his subordinates.
Mr Thabane said it was alleged that Commissioner Molibeli committed perjury when he said that he was transferring one of his subordinates from Maseru to Qacha’s Nek because there was only one senior officer responsible for that district.
The former prime minister said he was advised that Commissioner Molibeli’s statement was false because there were three senior officers at the level of senior superintendent and two senior inspectors in that district.
But the police chief filed a High Court application to stop his imminent suspension on 19 April 2020. Mr Thabane was interdicted from suspending him pending the finalisation of the application. In his application, Commissioner Molibeli alleged that Mr Thabane only wanted to suspend him to stop him from investigating the former premier for murdering his ex-wife, Lipolelo on 14 June 2017.
Mr Thabane’s current wife, ‘Maesaiah, has already been charged with the murder. The police have said they will soon arrest Mr Thabane to facilitate his trial in the same case.
Mr Thabane, the Police Authority (represented by former Police Minister Lehlohonolo Moramotse), the Attorney General Adv Haae Phoofolo and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Sera Makharilele, were the first to fourth respondents respectively in Commissioner Molibeli’s application.
But in the latest turn of events, Dr Majoro has withdrawn the “show cause” letter. Commissioner Molibeli’s lawyer, Advocate Tekane Maqakachane, this week told the Sunday Express that the withdrawal of the letter led to a settlement that was endorsed by the High Court.
He said Commissioner Molibeli’s application could not be heard as planned on 27 April 2020 after they requested it to be heard by three judges instead of just one Judge Polo Banyane.
“However, before the matter could be heard on a new date, the Thabane government collapsed and the new prime minister (Dr Majoro) withdrew the “show cause” letter issued by Mr Thabane. I then got a call from the Attorney General who told me that the government was not interested in proceeding with the case. The case was withdrawn and that settlement was endorsed by the court,” Adv Maqakachane said.
The 6 June 2020 court order states that, “the ‘show cause’ letter by the first respondent (Mr Thabane) dated 15 April 2020 is hereby withdrawn”.
“The application (by Commissioner Molibeli) is withdrawn. Each party is to bear its own costs. The deed of settlement has been made an order of court”.
Since the beginning of the year, Mr Thabane launched several albeit unsuccessful bids to oust Commissioner Molibeli. The two have been at loggerheads ever since the former premier attempted to send the police boss on forced leave in January this year. When that failed, Mr Thabane then attempted to suspend him. That too failed after Commissioner Molibeli challenged the move in court. On 10 January 2020, Dr Thabane wrote to King Letsie III advising His Majesty to immediately appoint Senior Assistant Commissioner Janki Hlaahla as the new police commissioner. Dr Thabane claimed that Commissioner Molibeli had taken early retirement, a fact which was disputed by the latter in his ultimately successful court challenge.
In his court papers, Commissioner Molibeli accused Dr Thabane of seeking to get rid of him to avoid prosecution for the 14 June 2014 murder of the latter’s estranged wife, Lipolelo. The police chief said investigations into Lipolelo’s murder pointed to Dr Thabane’s involvement.
Mr Thabane denied attempting to fire Commissioner Molibeli to stop the Lipolelo murder probe. The former premier claimed his decision was driven by his desire to rejuvenate the police force which was being harm-strung by what he described as Commissioner Molibeli’s incompetence.