The government has reportedly sent letters to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Leaba Thetsane and Attorney General (AG) Tšokolo Makhethe asking them to “show cause” why they should not retire.
Sources who spoke to the Sunday Express in separate interviews said both Mr Thetsane and Mr Makhethe had “long passed their retirement age of 55 years” but continued in their positions after reaching a “gentleman’s agreement” with the previous government led by Pakalitha Mosisili.
The Sunday Express could neither immediately verify these claims with Dr Mosisili and the two men in question, nor establish how old both Mr Thetsane and Mr Makhethe are.
But according to one of the sources, the two are “well past 55 years of age, when they were supposed to have retired at 55 as per the requirements of the public service”.
“What happened was the two were asked to stay on just like judges who can go on and on. However, this was contrary to statutory requirements that both the DPP and AG should retire at the age of 55,” said the source, who
refused to be identified for fear of victimisation.
“When the coalition government came into office in June 2012, it was realised the two gentlemen should have gone on retirement some years back. So now they have both been written letters by the government asking them to show cause why they should not be released from duty because of their ages.
“Just like other members of the public service, they should have been given their packages and gone home when they reached their retirement age.
“However, when they were written the letters alerting them that they were way past their retirement, they said they had been told they could retire like judges, not ordinary civil servants, by the previous government,” alleged another source.
Mr Makhethe became AG in 2005 when the then office-bearer, Lebohang Fine Maema, was sent to the United States as Lesotho’s Permanent Representative and Ambassador.
Advocate Thetsane, on the other hand, became DPP following the departure of Advocate Sipho Mdluli in 1999.
Contacted for comment, the newly-appointed Ministry of Law, Human Rights and Constitutional Affairs Principal Secretary, Tebello Thabane told the Sunday Express he was only assuming office on 2 June and, therefore, did not know what was going on in the ministry.
Acting Government Secretary, Moahloli Mphaka, on the other hand, told the Sunday Express: “The Attorney General, the Auditor General, the Director of Public Prosecutions and other statutory position-holders are supposed to retire at the ages of 55.
“On the other hand, the Principal Secretaries, when they used to be referred to as Permanent Secretaries, also used to retire at the age of 55. But now, they are on three-year contracts. I also think the Auditor General is now engaged on a contractual basis,” Mr Mphaka said.
On Mr Thetsane and Mr Makhethe, Mr Mphaka said the government was yet to make a decision regarding their fate “as negotiations are still going on with both the DPP and AG”.