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Ministers begin probe into police instability

  • Molibeli the first to give evidence 

’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE inter-ministerial inquiry into the instability in the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) began its work this week by summoning Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli to give evidence.

Other senior police officers who have received letters to appear before the committee are Assistant Police Commissioners (ACPs) Motlatsi Mapola and Seabata Tutuoane.

The committee comprises of ministers, ‘Mamoipone Senauoane (Police and Public Safety), Prince Maliehe (Defence and National Security), Kemiso Mosenene (Prime Minister’s Office) and Professor Nqosa Mahao (Law and Justice), who is its chairperson.

It was appointed by Dr Majoro on 5 August 2020 to investigate “potential instability in the security agencies”.

The committee was established against the background of serious infighting between Commissioner Molibeli and his subordinates in the Lesotho Mounted Police Service Staff Association (LEPOSA). The infighting could negatively affect policing activities and the country’s overall stability.

Last month, LEPOSA petitioned Dr Majoro to suspend Commissioner Molibeli to facilitate investigations into the latter’s alleged criminal misconduct, maladministration and abuse of power.

The police boss has retaliated by “firing” LEPOSA national treasurer Lance Sergeant ‘Mathebe Motseki and initiating moves to sack other “rogue” senior LEPOSA members who he accuses of “engaging in an open rebellion against the police management”.

Announcing the establishment of the inter-ministerial committee last week, Dr Majoro’s office said, “some members of the security forces have expressed grievances regarding their workplaces and it is important to ascertain the veracity of these claims as well as explore the possible solutions”.

The committee got down to work on Monday by summoning Commissioner Molibeli to present his side of the story.

ACPs Mapola and Tutuoane have been told to be on standby to appear before the committee.

ACP Mapola is in charge of crime prevention while ACP Tutuoane is in charge of the stock theft detection unit.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Kemiso Mosenene, confirmed that Commissioner Molibeli had appeared before the committee on Monday, adding, “more senior officers will also appear before the committee”.

“We had to start with him (Commissioner Molibeli) as he is the man in charge of the police force and he has also been fingered in most of the grievances.

“This exercise follows a registration of grievances by LEPOSA accusing Commissioner Molibeli of misusing his powers, effecting unlawful promotions and undermining the decisions made by the courts of law.

“It is on this basis that we had to start with him. More officers will be summoned to respond to the evidence presented to the committee,” Mr Mosenene said.

Commissioner Molibeli confirmed that he appeared before the committee on Monday but refused to say what had been discussed.

“I appeared before the inter-ministerial committee on Monday and they are better placed to share any details of the proceedings with the media when the time is right,” Commissioner Molibeli told this publication.

ACP Mapola confirmed that he had been told by the committee to be on standby to appear before it.

“I received a letter summoning me to appear before the committee on a date to be advised. I will wait for my turn and appear when called upon to do so,” ACP Mapola said this week.

ACP Tutuoane also confirmed receiving a letter advising him to prepare to appear before the committee.

“I have received the letter but I don’t have any idea of the kind of information or evidence I am expected to present before this committee as I am just the head of the stock-theft unit. I shall oblige even though I don’t know what criteria was used to pick me to give information on issues of instability in the police force.

“I think ‘instability’ is too strong a word to use because this paints a scary picture to those viewing the police force from the outside.

“Perhaps the words ‘maladministration’ and ‘ineffectiveness’ should have been used,” ACP Tutuoane said without elaborating.

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