THE Commissioner of Police, Holomo Molibeli has been ordered to appear in the High Court next week to explain why he cannot be held in contempt after he previously failed to appear in court.
March 23, 2023
3 min read
Molibeli fate hangs on balance again
Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli
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Justice Tšeliso Mokoko made the initial order in June 2022, which Molibeli ignored.
The order emanated from another matter in which the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Beleme Lebajoa is challenging his transfer from the Crime Investigation Division (CID).
Lebajoa who refused to be transferred by Molibeli argued in his defence that only the Minister of Police and Public Safety had the authority to transfer officers of his rank.
At the time of the application, Sekola Lepota was the police minister.
In June 2022, Lebajoa filed an application in the High Court to interdict Molibeli from transferring him from the CID to the Finance and Infrastructure Development (FID) division.
Lebajoa’s lawyer, Advocate Rethabile Setlojoane petitioned the court to temporarily prevent Molibeli from transferring his client until the court made a final judicial decision to permanently stop the transfer.
He argued that Molibeli superseded Sekola’s power by ignoring his decision that Lebajoa should remain as head of CID.
In 2018 Lebajoa held the rank of Inspector but was shortly thereafter promoted to the position of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP).
He skipped several ranks such as Senior Inspector, Superintendent, and Senior Superintendent.
This did not sit well with fellow police officers who challenged his promotion in court through the Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA).
While the matter was pending in court, Lebajoa was again promoted to the rank of Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SACP) in 2020.
To add salt to the wound, Lebajoa was in June 2021 promoted to the position of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and this prompted LEPOSA to return to court to revitalise the promotion application, which also involved other officers.
Justice Molefi Makara nullified the promotions on grounds that Molibeli had violated the Police Service Act of 1998 and the Lesotho Mounted Police Services Administration Regulations of 2003 in effecting such promotions.
In his ruling, Justice Makara ordered the promoted officers to return to their previous ranks and to reimburse the extra monies they had received as the result of their illegal promotions.
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However, Molibeli failed to carry out the order instead, he filed an appeal against Justice Makara’s decision.
Lebajoa in his main application accuses Molibeli of being against his appointment as the head of CID from the onset.
He further accused Molibeli of interfering with his duties and establishing a parallel desk to carry out the same task as that of the CID.
In his answering affidavits, Molibeli argues that the Police Act empowers him to transfer and assign police officers under his command, adding that the police minister only has the authority to appoint DCPs and not designate their duties.
The respondent in their submission denied Lebajoa’s allegations that Molibeli had created the investigative unit only to disrupt the CID which was under Lebajoa.
Molibeli kept part of Justice Mokoko’s order by eventually not transferring Lebajoa but he failed to reinstate his bodyguards as the judge had directed.