Po­lice pro­mo­tions case takes new turn

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

THE po­lice pro­mo­tions case in which the Le­sotho Po­lice Staff As­so­ci­a­tion (LEPOSA) are chal­leng­ing the le­gal­ity of pro­mo­tions for 36 of­fi­cers pro­mo­tions has taken a new twist af­ter Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice and the At­tor­neyGen­eral in­di­cated they were no longer op­pos­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion.

The pro­mo­tions were an­nounced on 4 June 2017, a day af­ter the 3 June snap elec­tions which ush­ered in a four party coali­tion gov­ern­ment com­pris­ing of the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion, Ba­sotho Congress Party, Al­liance for Democrats and the Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho.

They re­placed the former seven par­ties’ regime that was headed by Demo­cratic Congress leader, Pakalitha Mo­sisili.

Prime Min­is­ter, Thomas Tha­bane moved to ef­fect changes in the po­lice force which saw Po­lice Com­mis­sioner, Mo­lahlehi Let­soepa, be­ing sent on a forced 90-day leave as a pre­cur­sor to pos­si­ble dis­missal.

Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa is one of the re­spon­dents in the sub­se­quent LEPOSA court ap­pli­ca­tion that was filed in June seek­ing the nul­li­fi­ca­tion of the pro­mo­tions.

LEPOSA ar­gues that the pro­mo­tions vi­o­lated pro­vi­sions of the Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS) Act no. 7 of 1998 and other reg­u­la­tions.

Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa was ini­tially re­placed by Keketso Mon­a­heng be­fore Holomo Moli­beli took over as act­ing com­mis­sioner of po­lice.

The LEPOSA suit was sup­posed to pro­ceed be­fore the High Court on Mon­day but it was post­poned to next Mon­day af­ter the com­mis­sioner of po­lice and the at­tor­ney gen­eral in­di­cated they no longer in­tended to op­pose the case.

LEPOSA’S lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Hoolo ‘Nyane, re­vealed the lat­est devel­op­ments in an in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times this week.

He said lawyers in­volved in the mat­ter met with the pre­sid­ing judge, Jus­tice ‘Mase­shophe Hla­joane, in her of­fices on Mon­day to dis­cuss the case.

“The case will be heard next Mon­day (14 Au­gust),” Ad­vo­cate ‘Nyane said, adding, “The court will be deal­ing with the pre­lim­i­nary points of law raised by the re­spon­dents.

“They are mak­ing an is­sue about the with­drawal of the com­mis­sioner of po­lice and the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s op­po­si­tion to the mat­ter,” he added.

The lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the of­fice of the at­tor­ney gen­eral, Ad­vo­cate Makhele Sekati, also con­firmed the post­pone­ment of the case.

When the case was first brought be­fore court, LEPOSA asked that the pro­mo­tions be tem­po­rar­ily halted un­til the court had fi­nal- ised its ap­pli­ca­tion.

LEPOSA also sought a tem­po­rary or­der freez­ing the newly pro­moted po­lice of­fi­cers’ salaries un­til the case was fi­nalised.

How­ever, Jus­tice Hla­joane or­dered that the pro­mo­tions should re­main in force un­til the ap­pli­ca­tion was fi­nalised.

Upon as­sum­ing of­fice af­ter Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa’s en­forced leave, Deputy Com­mis­sioner Mon­a­heng on 30 June or­dered that the salaries of the newly pro­moted of­fi­cers be frozen pend­ing fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the LEPOSA case.

This did not go down well with the of­fi­cers who sub­se­quently filed an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore the High Court seek­ing a re­ver­sal of to re­verse Com­mis­sioner Mon­a­heng’s de­ci­sion.

In the no­tice of mo­tion the of­fi­cers want the court to or­der that “the de­ci­sion of the Act­ing Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice to re­verse the salaries of the ap­pli­cants on their newly pro­moted po­si­tions should be de­clared null and void”.

The main ap­pli­ca­tion by LEPOSA as well as that of the pro­moted of­fi­cers will be ar­gued to­gether.

Po­lice com­mis­sioner Mo­lahlehi let­soepa.

Deputy Po­lice com­mis­sioner Keketso Mon­a­heng.

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