TšehlanaTše sus­pend­ed­susp

…ac­cused of bring­ing Prime Min­is­ter’s of­fice into dis­re­pute

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

VET­ERAN politi­cian Lehlo­honolo Tšehlana has in­structed his lawyers to sue the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice fol­low­ing his sus­pen­sion last week.

The for­mer Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy and All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment was suspended from the pre­mier’s of­fice where he works in the Poverty Re­duc­tion Pro­gramme (PREP).

Mr Tšehlana was first em­ployed as Po­lit­i­cal Ad­vi­sor to then Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane be­fore his po­si­tion was changed to PREP Of­fi­cer.

But ac­cord­ing to his let­ter of sus­pen­sion dated 11 May 2015, and en­dorsed by the PREP Direc­tor, Topollo Lephatšoe, the for­mer Senkatana Po­lit­i­cal Party leader would be on sus­pen­sion with full pay “for a pe­riod not ex­ceed­ing three months com­menc­ing 13May 2015”.

Among other al­leged trans­gres­sions, Mr Tšehlana is be­ing ac­cused of bring­ing the of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter into dis­re­pute.

Reads part of the sus­pen­sion let­ter: “Your sus­pen­sion from of­fice is con­sti­tuted while a dis­ci­plinary in­quiry is be­ing un­der­taken against you for bring­ing the of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter into dis­re­pute, thereby con­tra­ven­ing pro­vi­sions of the Codes of Good Prac­tice 2005, read to­gether with Sec­tion 1(v) of the Public Ser­vice Act 2005 in that:

In or about May 2015, you used in­tim­i­dat­ing words against the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary – Cabi­net Ad­min­is­tra­tion, by send­ing in­tim­i­dat­ing cel­lu­lar phone mes­sages to him, thereby con­tra­ven­ing Codes of Good Prac­tice 2005 (i), which state that a Public Of­fi­cer shall re­frain from the use of in­sult­ing or in­tim­i­dat­ing words to the author­ity…or from show­ing dis­re­spect to any of them. You also con­tra­vened the said code by in­tim­i­dat­ing your su­per­vi­sor when you said that you are a for­mer Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment and thus can­not be un­der su- per­vi­sion of the Direc­tor of Poverty Re­duc­tion Pro­gramme.”

The let­ter con­tin­ues: “In or about May 2015, you failed to show cour­tesy and de­cency in your com­mu­ni­ca­tion to the Direc­tor of PREP about the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary – Cabi­net Ad­min­is­tra­tion by say­ing ‘u tlilo tlot­lolla PS ka ho u hanela ka koloi’ thereby con­tra­ven­ing Codes of Good Prac­tice 2005 (k), which state that a Public Of­fi­cer shall ‘show cour­tesy and de­cency in his or her com­mu­ni­ca­tion about any per­son or mat­ter that is un­der con­sid­er­a­tion or forms the sub­ject of com­ment or re­sponse.’

“In or about May 2015, you ma­li­ciously and de­struc­tively crit­i­cised the work of the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary – Cabi­net Ad­min­is­tra­tion at the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice’s premises by hold­ing a press con­fer­ence and say­ing that PS ‘ o u sitisa ho se­betsa’, thereby con­tra­ven­ing Codes of Good Prac­tice 2005 (k) where it states that a Public Of­fi­cer shall not ‘ma­li­ciously or de­struc­tively crit­i­cise the work or con­duct of an­other Public Of­fi­cer.”

Mr Tšehlana is also ac­cused of us­ing of­fi­cial premises and time for per­sonal and pri­vate pur­poses when he held the press con­fer­ence “thereby con­tra­ven­ing Codes of Good Prac­tice 2005 (d) that state that a Public Of­fi­cer shall not use of­fi­cial prop­erty, premises and time for per­sonal and pri­vate pur­poses un­less au­tho­rised to do so.”

The press con­fer­ence, the let­ter added, was “per­sonal and pri­vate be­cause the ac­tiv­ity was not as­signed by your su­per­vi­sor or a proper author­ity to your of­fice”. The note adds: “On the same day, you failed to be­have in a man­ner that en­hances the rep­u­ta­tion of the Public Ser­vice by say­ing the PS is sab­o­tag­ing the cur­rent gov­ern­ment by re­fus­ing you ac­cess to a gov­ern­ment ve­hi­cle, thereby con­tra­ven­ing pro­vi­sions of Codes of Good Prac­tice 2005 (n) that state that a public of­fi­cer shall ‘when on of­fi­cial duty, dress and be­have in a man­ner that en­hances the rep­u­ta­tion of the Public Ser­vice.”

Mr Tšehlana is also ac­cused of fraud in the sus­pen­sion let­ter.

“Be­tween March 2015 and April 2015, you used an­other of­fi­cer’s trans­port card (tag) fraud­u­lently, thereby con­tra­ven­ing Codes of Good Prac­tice 2005 (n), com­mit a crim­i­nal of­fence in­volv­ing dis­hon­esty, mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of public funds or cause dam­age to public prop­erty or bring the of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter into dis­re­pute.”

How­ever, Mr Tšehlana On Tues­day told the Le­sotho Times that he was sur­prised by the con­tents of the let­ter.

“I am ac­cused of sev­eral al­le­ga­tions but what has struck me the most is where it is al­leged that I have com­mit­ted fraud. That, to me, is defama­tion of char­ac­ter. The of­fice will have to pro­nounce it­self be­fore the courts of law as to how and when I was ever charged with fraud. This is se­ri­ous defama­tion of my char­ac­ter and I am tak­ing them to court over it.”

He fur­ther told the Le­sotho Times that he was sur­prised to be charged with con­tra­ven­ing pro­vi­sions of the Public Ser­vice Act 2005, “when in fact I was em­ployed un­der terms of the Labour Code Act. I am not on the public ser­vice roll.”

Mean­while, a lawyer at LMM Ma­supha Cham­bers yes­ter­day con­firmed to the Le­sotho Times that they had re­ceived in­struc­tions from Mr Tšehlana to file a defama­tion case against the pre­mier’s of­fice.

There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment from Mr Lephatšoe on Mr Tšehlana’s sus­pen­sion.

LEHLO­HONOLO Tšehlana

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