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Secret service boss quits

 

Keiso Mohloboli

National Security Service (NSS) Director-General Lerotholi Seeiso has left his job—six months before the expiry of his contract, the Sunday Express can reveal.

Mr Lerotholi on Friday confirmed he left his post on 31 March when his contract was set to expire in October this year. The NSS cited ill-health for his decision to leave the powerful post early.

“I am not feeling well and felt I could not make it to the end of my contract. My contract was supposed to end in October, six months from now but I could not bear the load. You need to be healthy to lead such an organisation and I felt I could not be as effective as expected. That is why I asked for an early exit,” Mr Lerotholi said.

Mr Lerotholi denied speculation that his exit was politically motivated. He said unlike other security agencies—the police, correctional service and military—the NSS had steered clear of political controversy.

“I assure you that my resignation has got nothing to do with politics. I am confident that unlike other security agencies, namely the Lesotho Mounted Police Service, Lesotho Defence Force and Lesotho Correctional Service which have been associated with politics, the NSS have been apolitical.

“I was first appointed Director-General of the NSS during Dr Pakalitha Mosisili’s government in 2004 and retired in 2006. In my view I would not have been recalled on contract by former Prime Minister Dr Thomas Thabane in 2013 if the NSS was polarised.

“I have not had any problems with the current coalition government and they did  not indicate that they had any problem working with me. I am genuinely leaving because I need to rest,” he said.

Defence and National Security Minister Tšeliso Mokhosi confirmed Mr Lerotholi’s departure but declined to give reasons for the early exit.

“The government is still in talks with Mr Lerotholi about his exit package and I cannot disclose his reasons for leaving to the media. Some people have been speculating that Mr Lerotholi was fired and that is not true because he asked to be excused from duty as soon as I got into office last year,” Mr Mokhosi said.

“I did not think he was serious about leaving because my superiors never complained about his ability and never wanted him out of office. When he realised that I was not doing anything about his plea, he proceeded straight to the authorities and asked to be released. That’s when I realised he was serious about the matter.”

Mr Mokhosi also disclosed that NSS Deputy Director-General Lealimo Makakole would act as Director-General until a replacement for Mr Lerotholi is found.

Mr Lerotholi was first employed in the national security force as a police officer in the 1970s. He was later transferred to work as an officer in the Special Branch of the police service until the branch became an independent institution in the 1990s.

In 2004, he was appointed head of the NSS until his retirement in 2006.

He was recalled in 2013 on a three-year contract.

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