DPP PUSHES FOR EARLY RE­TIRE­MENT

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

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.”

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