Tha­bane over­turns cop’s ‘forced’ leave

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

PRIME Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane has over­turned a con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion by Act­ing Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha Ma­supha to send a top po­lice of­fi­cer in­ves­ti­gat­ing sev­eral high pro­file cor­rup­tion cases on forced leave pending re­tire­ment from the Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS).

Dr Tha­bane said such a crit­i­cal de­ci­sion should not have been made with­out his knowl­edge as he is also the Min­is­ter of Po­lice. The pre­mier ac­cused Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha of “ill ad­vis­ing him­self” in the de­ci­sion to send the top cop on forced leave.

Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha de­liv­ered a let­ter to As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice (ACP) Sello Mosili on Tues­day 6 Jan­uary 2015 telling him to go on leave the next day from the 7th of Jan­uary till 27 Jan­uary 2015, upon which he would be re­tired from the po­lice af­ter reach­ing the manda­tory re­tire­ment age of 55.

But ACP Mosili, who heads the vi­tal Crime In­tel­li­gence Unit of the LMPS, queried the move say­ing the en­tire de­ci­sion by Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha was un­pro­ce­du­ral and ir­reg­u­lar. He con­tends that be­cause of his se­nior­ity, he should have been given three months’ no­tice for re­tire­ment.

ACP Mosili is the lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor into the Jan­uary 2014 bomb­ings of the res­i­dences of Prime Min­is­ter Tha­bane’s part­ner, Li­a­biloe Ramo­holi, her neigh­bour and Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana.

The bomb­ings and the sub­se­quent fail­ure by fired Le­sotho De­fence Force com­man­der Tlali Kamoli to sur­ren­der eight sol­diers sus­pected of hav­ing mas­ter­minded the at­tacks led to the deep rifts be- tween the LMPS and the LDF and the events of 30 Au­gust 2014 that plunged Le­sotho into cri­sis af­ter the sol­diers raided sev­eral po­lice sta­tions in what Dr Tha­bane de­scribed as an at­tempted putsch.

ACP Mosili be­came the lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor into the trea­son charges against high rank­ing politi­cians and army of­fi­cers im­pli­cated in the Au­gust 30 coup bid.

He is also in charge of in­ves­ti­ga­tions into var­i­ous high pro­file cor­rup­tion cases in­clud­ing one in which Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing is ac­cused of re­ceiv­ing kick­backs in ex­change for a roads con­struc­tion ten­der awarded to a com­pany called Big Bravo Con­struc­tion.

ACP Mosili told the Le­sotho Times the leave let­ter, which or­dered him to va­cate of­fice im­me­di­ately, had come came as a shock to him.

“The let­ter said on Jan­uary 27 2015, I would be ef­fec­tively on re­tire­ment from the po­lice ser­vice. Un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances I should have been given three months’ no­tice of the re­tire­ment so that I can pre­pare my­self prop­erly,” ACP Mosili said.

“It is sur­pris­ing that a search for dock­ets in my of­fice while I was not there was fol­lowed by this rushed de­ci­sion send­ing me on leave….,” ACP Mosili said.

How­ever, Dr Tha­bane has since moved swiftly to over­turn Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha’s de­ci­sion. The pre­mier said he had not been in­formed and should have been con­sulted to en­dorse a de­ci­sion re­lat­ing to the fate of such a high rank­ing LMPS of­fi­cer. Dr Tha­bane told the Le­sotho Times yes­ter­day he had reversed the de­ci­sion in his ca­pac­ity as both Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter of Po­lice.

“As we speak, that man (ACP Mosili) is not on forced leave any­more. Some­one wanted to sent him on a forced leave but I cor­rected that. The Com­mis­sioner had ill-ad­vised him­self and I have over­turned that de­ci­sion,” Dr Tha­bane said.

Dr Tha­bane said he had not ex­tracted any com­pelling rea­sons to send ACP Mosili on leave when he con­tacted Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha over the mat­ter.

The Pre­mier said Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha had also bun­gled pro­ce­dures on how a high rank­ing po­lice of­fi­cer of ACP Mosili’s cal­i­bre should be sent on such a leave.

“The proper pro­ce­dures had not been prop­erly fol­lowed. Ev­ery­thing should have been done in con­sul­ta­tions with me as the po­lice min­is­ter. All mat­ters at that level should be through me. His (Ma­supha’s) rea­sons did not con­vince me at all,” said Dr Tha­bane.

Dr Tha­bane said he was also irked that Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha had made an an­nounce­ment on ACP Mosili’s fate with­out in­form­ing him.

“He can fire a pri­vate with­out telling me, and maybe re­port to me in some weeks’ time. How­ever for a case of an of­fi­cer like ACP Mosili I should be con­sulted,” Dr Tha­bane said.

“I don’t ques­tion the po­si­tion I have put Ma­supha to act in, how­ever I am merely cor­rect­ing a mis­take, an ill-in­formed de­ci­sion. It was an un­just de­ci­sion that had to be cor­rected…. I have al­ways been a cham­pion of the rights of the mar- gi­nalised and won’t tol­er­ate un­just de­ci­sions against any­one, hence my con­tin­ued fight against injustice.”

Dr Tha­bane’s coali­tion gov­ern­ment part­ner and Sports and Gen­der Min­is­ter Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane has, mean­while, called for a probe into the ac­tions of Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha. He at­trib­uted the “bad de­ci­sion” to the high pro­file cases ACP Mosili has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

He took a swipe at Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha say­ing “Ntate Ma­supha should have con­sulted with the min­is­ter (Dr Tha­bane) be­fore send­ing such a high per­form­ing and high rank­ing of­fi­cer on forced leave.

“There should ac­tu­ally be an in­quest into why Act­ing Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha did not con­sult his su­pe­ri­ors be­fore send­ing ACP Mosili on forced leave,” Chief ‘Maserib­ane said.

He said the wide­spread dis­trust that had led to the col­lapse of re­la­tions among coali­tion gov­ern­ment part­ners was partly due to con­flicts over the hard work of ACP Mosili in try­ing to in­ves­ti­gate and nail cor­rupt peo­ple. Some in the coali­tion gov­ern­ment had never ac­knowl­edged ACP Mosili’s ef­fort. At­tempts to get hold of Act­ing Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha were fruit­less.

Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha was el­e­vated to tem­po­rar­ily head the LMPS af­ter a se­cu­rity ac­cord bro­kered by South African Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa in which the deputies in the LMPS and LDF were asked to take charge of both se­cu­rity or­gans while their su­pe­ri­ors were sent on sab­bat­i­cals. While Com­mis­sioner Tšooana is said to be loyal to Dr Tha­bane, Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha has been dogged by al­le­ga­tions that he is loyal to the pre­mier’s ad­ver­saries.

Act­ing Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha Ma­supha

PRIME Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane

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