DPP PUSHES FOR EARLY RETIREMENT
EMBATTLED Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Leaba Thetsane (pictured) (King’s Counsel), has made a proposal to the government for early retirement to avoid a forced leave and a dishonourable exit.
Advocate Thetsane has made the proposal after resisting being placed on involuntary leave pending dismissal earlier this month by the Prime Minister Thomas Thabane-led government.
Sources close to the matter told the Sunday Express that the government was determined to see the back of Advocate Thetsane since he was seen as an obstacle to its ongoing prosecution of people accused of committing serious crimes.
The DPP is mandated with the prosecution of criminal offences.
The government has made no secret of its discontent with Adv Thetsane, with Acting Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli accusing the DPP of purposely failing to oppose the granting of bail to murder accused former Defence minister Tšeliso Mokhosi earlier this month.
Mr Mokhosi was charged with murdering Police Constable Mokalekale ( PC) Khetheng along with four police officers. He has since fled the country citing an assassination plot.
Even though Adv Thetsane is scheduled to retire next year upon reaching the 60-year mandatory retirement age, it would be too late for the government which has committed to bring to book perpetrators of unsolved crimes in the preceding years, the sources said.
“So far, it looks like the two par- ties are eager to meet each other half-way but the government really wants him out of the picture as he is seen as an obstacle to government’s mission to prosecute major criminal cases,” another source said.
“Ntate Thetsane has since made a proposal to the government that he be allowed to take leave pending his retirement in 2018 and the ministry is deliberating on the matter.”
Law and Constitutional Affairs Minister Principal Secretary, ‘ Mole Khumalo, confirmed the development to this publication.
“The ministry is considering the proposal made by Ntate Thetsane and will get back to Ntate Thetsane once a decision has been made,” Adv Khumalo curtly said.
Adv Thetsane refused to comment on the matter when contacted last week, saying he does not give interviews to the media.
There has been no love lost between Adv Thetsane and Dr Thabane’s two coalition governments. Dr Thabane’s first tripartite coalition government — which was in power from June 2012 to March 2015 — retired Adv Thetsane and Attorney-General Tšokolo Makhethe (KC) in 2014.
The first coalition government consisted of Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention ( ABC), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Basotho National Party (BNP).
Advocates Thetsane and Makhethe successfully challenged the retirement and were reinstated. Adv Makhethe eventually retired in August this year, ahead of reaching the 60-year mandatory retirement age on 13 November.
After losing power following the 28 February 2015 National Assembly elections, the ABC, BNP and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) accused Adv Thetsane of being biased in favour of the seven-party governing coalition that was led by then premier Pakalitha Mosisili.
The parties accused Adv Thetsane of protecting officials of the Dr Mosisili-led government from prosecution, while going after opposition leaders. The DPP had rubbished the allegations at the time, saying he was not interested in what the parties had to say.
Dr Thabane returned to power after the Dr Mosisili-led administration lost the 3 June 2017 National Assembly elections. Dr Thabane’s ABC cobbled together seats with the Alliance of Democrats, BNP and RCL.
Since its installation, the government has aggressively prosecuted suspects in various crimes, including the killing of PC Khetheng.
PC Khetheng died under mysterious circumstances after being arrested by his colleagues at a traditional feast in Sebothoane, Leribe on 25 March 2016.
Acting Commissioner Molibeli recently accused Adv Thetsane of working at cross purposes with the police.
“. . . it is very frustrating to see that there is somebody who is always ready to release the suspects once they have been brought before the courts of law,” he said.
“There is somebody who is busy releasing suspects at the courts of law after we have laboured to investigate them. Each time we oppose bail citing the concern that the suspects are flight risks, he releases them.”