Leribe police boss suspended

Leribe police boss suspended

MASERU-THE police commander for Leribe district, Senior Superintendent Thabo Tjamela, was suspended this week for allegedly failing to enforce strict Covid-19 regulations that bar the sale of alcohol.

The bars were seen selling alcohol on weekends in Leribe district in defiance of lockdown regulations that were imposed by the government two months ago.

Police spokesman Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli confirmed the suspension last night.
He said Senior Superintendent Tjamela was “handed the letter of suspension on Tuesday pending investigations”.
He said Senior Superintendent Tjamela has to “account why the bars were open when the regulations are clear that they were not supposed to do so during this lockdown”.
Supt Mopeli said it is only after thorough investigations that a decision will then be made.

There are clear regulations on the sale of alcohol during the lockdown.
A government gazette issued by the government said consumers can buy takeaways on Mondays and Thursday only.
Patrons are banned from sitting and drinking in bars.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health Motlatsi Maqelepo on Monday said some nightclubs had also breached the Covid-19 regulations last weekend.
Maqelepo said the new two cases of Covid-19 that had been reported in Lesotho meant that Basotho needed to be more careful to stop the spread of the disease.

Hopes that Lesotho had been spared were punctured two weeks ago after the country registered its first case.
Maqelepo said the last weekend had opened their eyes that some Basotho are determined to embark on some “bad behaviour”.
He said he has been wondering what kind of country Lesotho is where people do not respect their own laws.
“When compared to other countries, Basotho are non-abiding citizens,” Maqelepo said.

“Basotho know the right things but choose to do the opposite because they do not want to abide by the laws,” he said.
Maqelepo said his ministry will embark on a programme to sensitise people on the dangers of Covid-19 adding some of the regulations will be written in Sesotho so that people can understand the rules.
He said the owners of nightclubs were fully aware of the regulations but were defying the law to push profits.

The minister said he personally called police commissioner to close the night clubs last weekend.
Maqelepo said they do not expect to see people in congested places without masks.

He said the Legal Notice 40 of May 2020 that regulates Covid-19 clearly states that there shall be a state of emergency in Lesotho between April and October 2020.
“We are in the fight for six months,” Maqelepo said.
He said the lockdown is just part of the law and that does not mean the law governing Covid-19 is gone when the lockdown lapses.
He said there is a still law regulating the behaviour of Basotho during this time.

He said everyone is expected to have a mask especially while in public places adding it is a crime not to have one.
Maqelepo said alcohol should only be sold on Mondays and Thursdays as stipulated under the emergency law.

“It should be sold to customers who leave after buying,” he said.
He said there is a specified quantity of beer that one must buy and failure to adhere to the regulations would also be a crime.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ezekiel Senti, said some bottle store owners who did not respect the law especially on alcohol were arrested last weekend.

He said it is every Mosotho’s responsibility to read the law and understand their responsibilities.
He also urged taxi operators to comply with the regulations on the number of passengers they should carry in their vehicles.
He said there are heavy penalties for people who do not abide by these regulations.

“One will pay or go to jail,” ACP Senti said.
He said people who come from high risk countries must report to the Ministry of Health so that they are screened, tested and isolated for 14 days.
Failure to do this is a serious crime which could lead to arrest, he said.
ACP Senti said those who will refuse to be tested will be committing a serious crime and will be arrested and taken to the courts.

He said businesses are also not allowed to sell any commodities to people without masks.

Nkheli Liphoto

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