Police boss says ‘will be back’

Police boss says ‘will be back’

MASERU – POLICE Commissioner Molahlehi Letsoepa, who was sent on a 90-day leave last week, says he “will be back in office” soon.
Letsoepa insisted he was not axed by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane saying the claims that he was fired were misleading.
He told thepost that he was “on leave” but declined to say whether he was forced to go on leave as speculated in the media.
Letsoepa said he could not discuss “work issues between me and my superiors with the press”.

He said the decision for him to go on leave was reached during his discussions with the Prime Minister.
“We amicably decided that I should take the 90 days of annual leave. I have double the number of leave days to what we agreed I must take, and as we speak, I am on leave,” he said.
“However, I don’t want to discuss this matter further with the media because that would be very unprofessional and unjust to my boss.”

However, Home Affairs Deputy Minister Machesetsa Mofomobe, hinted Letsoepa was on his way out during a ceremony to unveil a monument in honour of slain former army commander, Maaparankoe Mahao, in Mokema last Saturday.

Mofomobe applauded Thabane “for removing Police Commissioner Letsoepa”. He also suggested that the National Security Service (NSS) director general, Tumo Lekhooa, should also be fired.
Letsoepa rejected charges that the leave was meant to pave way for his eventual ouster. Former police commissioners ’Malejaka Letooane, Kizito Mhlakaza and Khothatso Tšooana were all sent on leave before they were eventually relieved of their duties. Thabane has appointed Deputy Commissioner Keketso Monaheng to hold fort in Letsoea’s absence.

The premier has also appointed a top detective Holomo Molibeli to head the Criminal Investigations Division, which is probing the murder of his wife, Lipolelo Thabane. Lipolelo was shot dead by unknown gunmen early last month.

\Monaheng denied allegations aired on one local radio station that Molibeli’s appointment was meant to “disband a team of investigators working on the assassination of Ms Lipolelo Thabane”.
Monaheng said the allegations that Letsoepa was sent on leave so that Molibeli could tamper with the investigation were not true.
The fight between Letsoepa and senior members of the ruling parties can be traced to the days when leading figures of the government were still in opposition.
The then opposition accused Letsoepa of blocking opposition marches against the government led by Pakalitha Mosisili. Letsoepa was seen as the face of the government’s crackdown on the opposition.

The opposition accused Letsoepa of propping up the government led by Mosisili, a charge he denies.
What angered the opposition most though was Letsoepa’s decision, a day after the June 3 election, to promote 44 officers to senior positions within the Lesotho Mounted Police Service.
Parties in the governing coalition accused Letsoepa of giving a lifeline to Mosisili to continue ruling the country from the opposition bench.
They interpreted Letsoepa’s act as a strategy by the outgoing regime to retain control even after losing power.

The parties said the promotions were an attempt by Mosisili to place allies in strategic positions of power so that they could frustrate Thabane’s new government.
The police however denied the allegations, saying the promotions were not politically-motivated but were based on merit.
The Lesotho Police Staff Association has since lodged a case in the High Court seeking the reversal of Letsoepa’s decision.

Nkheli Liphoto

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