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‘Police promotions above board’

Staff writer

Police Commissioner, Holomo Molibeli, has defended the recent promotions of some senior police officials, saying they were done procedurally and therefor valid at law.

Commissioner Molibeli’s remarks come in the wake of the decision by the Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA) to petition the High Court to reverse the promotions that were effected on 12 January this year.

THE LMPS promoted six senior police officers including Police Spokesperson, Mpiti Mopeli and Baleme Edwin Lebajoa who successfully investigated cases including the murder of Police Constable, Mokalekale Khetheng and the attempted murder of the Lesotho Times Editor, Lloyd Mutungamiri.

Police Commissioner, Holomo Molibeli, who announced the promotions, said they were done to further “strengthen management and police operations in the country”.

He told the Sunday Express that the promotions, were in line with the Police Service Act of 1998 and sought to fill vacant positions and ensure improved service delivery.

The six officers who were promoted are Inspector Baleme Edwin Lebajoa who is now an Assistant Commissioner, Senior Inspector Lefu Ralethoko who was elevated to the Senior Superintendent while Police Spokesperson, Inspector Mopeli and Butha-Buthe Police Senior Inspector, Thato Ramarikhoane, are now Superintendents.

Inspectors, Mohlapiso Mohlapiso and Boipuso Monne were promoted to the rank of Senior Inspector.

Commissioner Molibeli said the promotions were based on the officers’ excellent performance over the years. He further explained that police operations continued to evolve and demanded supervision and management that is professional to ensure the respect of the law by all citizens of the country.

However, LEPOSA alleges the said promotions were executed contrary to the laws governing the LMPS.

In its court papers, LEPOSA calls upon the respondents to explain why “the promotions announced on 12 January 2018, shall not be declared null, void and of no legal force and effect in law for violating provisions of Section 8(1) read with 8(2) of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service Act No. 7 of 1998.”

The police association also wants the High Court to nullify the said promotions for not being compliant with the provisions of police regulations as amended in 2003.

Listed as the respondents are the Commissioner of Police, Mr Molibeli, Staff Officer to Commissioner of Police, LMPS Human Resources Officer, the six promoted officers and the Attorney General.

Supporting the association’s claim, LEPOSA’s secretary general, Moraleli Motloli made an affidavit giving rise to the police body’s complaint.

“On 11 December 2017, a Memo published by the 1st respondent (Mr Molibeli) announced six vacancies in the Lesotho Mounted Police Service.

“The vacancies were in the ranks of Assistant Commissioner of Police, Senior Superintendent, Superintendent and Senior Inspector,” he states.

He alleges the candidates were only given seven days to apply, adding the memo that invited applications contained specifications that were couched in general terms “with a view to evade the legal obligations placed upon the 1st respondent to base promotions in the LMPS on merit as envisaged by Regulation 7(2) of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (Administration) Regulations 2003 as amended.”

However, Commissioner Molibeli said the promotions are legal. He said that procedure was followed as a board made of representatives of Ministers of Police and Public Service and the Police Commissioner was to be established and considered the matter in line with the regulations.

The LMPS has since filed notice to oppose the LEPOSA suit.

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