Court post­pones po­lice chal­lenge

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

THE High Court on Tues­day this week post­poned to 1 June 2015 a case in which the Le- sotho Po­lice Staff As­so­ci­a­tion (LEPOSA) is chal­leng­ing the le­git­i­macy of Deputy Po­lice Com­mis­sioner (DCP) Keketso Mon­a­heng’s ap­point­ment as act­ing com­mis­sioner of po- lice.

Jus­tice ‘Mase­shophe Hla­joane said she was reschedul­ing the case be­cause both LEPOSA and the re­spon­dents had filed their pa­pers be­fore the court late.

Mr Mon­a­heng, the Min­is­ter of Po­lice, Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice and At­tor­ney Gen­eral, are cited as first to fourth re­spon­dents in the mat­ter, re­spec­tively.

LEPOSA’S legal rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Ad­vo­cate Makhetha Motšoari, told the court new lawyers rep­re­sent­ing the re­spon­dents, King’s Coun­sel Sale­mane Phafane and Motiea Teele, could not pro­ceed with the case be­cause he had only served them with a re­ply­ing af­fi­davit that pre­vi­ous day.

“We only served them with our re­ply yes­ter­day (Mon­day) be­cause they did not file their an­swer­ing pa­pers on time,” he said.

How­ever, the judge re­marked that the last set of heads-of-ar­gu­ment were sup­posed to have been filed on 15 May, adding: “The sad thing about this late fil­ing of pa­pers is I don’t have nearer dates un­less the case is re­al­lo­cated.

“The ap­pli­cant should file the heads-of-ar­gu­ment on or be­fore 22 May 2015, while the re­spon­dents should file theirs on or be­fore the 28th of May.”

In re­sponse, Ad­vo­cate Retha­bile Set­lo­joane — who stood in for Ad­vo­cates Phafane and Teele re­spec­tively — said: “I don’t know what tran­spired be­tween Mr Motšoari and Mr Phafane, but my in­struc­tions are that we are not able to pro­ceed with the mat­ter be­cause we were only served with the re­ply yes­ter­day.”

In his found­ing af­fi­davit sub­mit­ted be­fore the court, LEPOSA Gen­eral Sec­re­tary, Se­nior In­spec­tor Mot­samai Kholumo, noted un­der the Maseru Se­cu­rity Ac­cord (MSA) signed on 23 Oc­to­ber 2014, Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana was sent on leave-of-ab­sence along­side Le­sotho De­fence Force’s Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli and Lt Gen Maa­parankoe Ma­hao.

“As a re­sult of the MSA, Deputy Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Ma­supha Ma­supha was ap­pointed Act­ing Com­mis­sioner, which was ter­mi­nated on 4 April 2015 with an of­fer for early re­tire­ment. DCP Ma­supha ac­cepted the of­fer.

“I must in­di­cate that af­ter the ter­mi­na­tion, the of­fice of com­mis­sioner was va­cant and DCP Holomo Moli­beli was ap­pointed Act­ing Po­lice Com­mis­sioner by His Majesty King Let­sie III in ac­cor­dance with the ad­vice of the Prime Min­is­ter,” Se­nior In­spec­tor Kholumo noted in the af­fi­davit.

He fur­ther high­lights that DCP Moli­beli had still not re­ceived a let­ter ter­mi­nat­ing the ap­point­ment but only told in a man­age­ment meet­ing held on 8 April 2015 and chaired by the Min­is­ter of Po­lice, Monyane Moleleki that

“it was wrong for a ju­nior to be act­ing while a se­nior is still around”.

The af­fi­davit con­tin­ues: “In a meet­ing at­tended by all po­lice min­is­te­rial de­part­ments and the Com­mis­sioner’s Ad­vi­sory Board (CAB), the Min­istry of Po­lice Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary (PS) Re­filoe Matekane in­formed DCP Moli­beli that DCP Mon­a­heng would now be Act­ing Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice and that he should han­dover the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the LMPS to him im­me­di­ately.”

How­ever, LEPOSA ar­gues Mr Mon­a­heng’s ap­point­ment was un­law­ful “be­cause it has not been done in ac­cor­dance with the con­sti­tu­tion of Le­sotho read with the Po­lice Ser­vice Act of 1998.”

Se­nior In­spec­tor Kholumo notes Mr Mon­a­heng had made “a few trans­fers of po­lice of­fi­cers al­ready and we are not say­ing that po­lice of­fi­cers are not sup­posed to be trans­ferred but the man­ner in which DCP Mon­a­heng is do­ing the trans­fers shows that he is on a cer­tain mission which we don’t know”.

“I af­firm that DCP Mon­a­heng should be re­strained from ex­er­cis­ing the func­tions of the of­fice of Act­ing Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice pending the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of his ap­point­ment.

“I af­firm that the ap­point­ment of DCP Mon­a­heng and DCP Moli­beli’s ter­mi­na­tion should be de­clared un­law­ful and il­le­gal.

“The Po­lice Act makes it a point that a se­nior of­fi­cer will be ap­pointed to act in the po­si­tion of com­mis­sioner when the com­mis­sioner is ab­sent, in­ca­pable or there is a va­cancy.

“It must also be clear that the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, Khothatso Tšooana, is back in the coun­try from Al­ge­ria where he spent his leave-of-ab­sence from 21 Novem­ber 2014 un­til 1 April 2015 and as such, he has to re­sume his du­ties.

Fur­ther, no­body has ever said the Com­mis­sioner is in­ca­pable of do­ing his job and it must also be clear that DCP Moli­beli is still avail­able and act­ing in that po­si­tion and no­body can say he was ab­sent.”

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