‘There was no request to arrest PS’

‘There was no request to arrest PS’

MASERU – THE Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane this week denied that the police had asked her for permission to arrest the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Justice. Through the Law Ministry’s spokesperson, ’Malesaoana Mohale, Motinyane said she is not aware that the police want to arrest Lebohang Mochaba for defying the Ombudsman’s order.

She would only know of their intention if they had asked her permission to arrest her as is required under the law.
Motinyane’s statement comes three weeks after police spokesman Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli told thepost that they had written to the DPP requesting her to give them the green light to arrest Mochaba.

“The police ask permission from the DPP to arrest a public servant,” Mopeli said.
“If the DPP’s office has not granted us permission to arrest the public servant, we do not make any arrests,” he said.
Ombudsman Leshele Thoahlane took the matter to the police five weeks ago, about 10 days after Mochaba openly told that she had deliberately defied his order.

Earlier, Mohale had said the DPP’s office had enquired among its officials and none said they received any request from the police to arrest the principal secretary.
“The DPP says I should tell you that she did all she could to establish if there was such a request by the police. We can safely say the police have not approached the office with their request,” Mohale said.

Mochaba had ignored the Ombudsman’s order restraining her and the Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) Commissioner Thabang Mothepu from proceeding with the disputed promotions of prison warders. Mochaba told the Ombudsman during a public hearing that she had deliberately ignored the restraining order.

She said there were security concerns she had prioritised instead of obeying the Ombudsman’s order.
She however failed to give reasons why she did not communicate with the Ombudsman about the problems she was encountering instead of just ignoring his order.
The Ombudsman’s Act 1996 gives the Ombudsman powers equal to that of a High Court judge.

Section 20 (a) of the Act provides that a person who without reasonable excuse refuses or fails to comply with a notice, summons or subpoena or a restraining order commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding M1 000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both.
Such offenders can only be convicted by a court of law, hence the Ombudsman took the matter to the police who in turn wait for the DPP to instruct them to arrest Mochaba.

Staff Reporter

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