No money for police promotions

No money for police promotions

MASERU– POLICE Commissioner Holomo Molibeli is in a fix after Finance Principal Secretary, Nthoateng Lebona, withheld funds to pay pensions and gratuities of retiring cops.
This paper has seen correspondence between the duo and how Commissioner Molibeli tried in vain to get help from the government’s Director of Civil Litigation, Advocate M Sekati.
Commissioner Molibeli has since sought the Attorney General’s legal opinion.
Lebona had written Commissioner Molibeli on June 24 saying in order for her to facilitate the release of funds the top cop should personally give her evidence to prove that he promoted the subordinate officers who later become eligible for gratuities and other terminal benefits.

“We would appreciate annual submissions or have the names listed and promotions effected each year for each officer so that it is easy to trace the progression of each officer, from 2014 to 2021,” Lebona wrote.
As for senior officers’ evidence of their promotions, Lebona wants signatures of the Commissioner, appointees of the Ministers of Police and Public Service.
“We agreed that the authority for promotion would be obtained from the current designated authorities,” she wrote.
Dissatisfied with Lebona’s demands, the Commissioner asked for intervention from the Director of Civil Litigation.
Commissioner Molibeli’s gripe is that Lebona says senior officers’ pensions cannot be processed unless there are three signatures.

He also complained that allowances of police officers cannot be processed because Lebona demands that only him should authorize their eligibility.
Sekati has not been of any help to Commissioner Molibeli.
Sekati told him in a letter of July 16 that his unresolved issues “seem not to implicate any legal question meriting the legal opinion and advice as posed in your letter”.
“We view them as administrative issues whether simple or complicated,” Sekati said in the letter.
“We are unable to consider the merit or demerits of the decision of PS Finance because there is no allegation at least suggesting the transgression of any law that is in tandem with the previous practice of the Finance Ministry, and previous or current practice of LMPS,” he said.
Regarding the allowances, Sekati said he understood that the Commissioner of Police has the power to delegate.

“Where such delegation has been made, proof of same shall be available to anyone questioning the decision taken as a result of such delegation,” he said.
“We strongly feel this is a matter resolvable by the higher executive policy makers within the two ministries.”
Still dissatisfied, Commissioner Molibeli wrote the Attorney General.
He accuses Lebona of introducing a new practice since March 2020 without any prior notice and has implemented it.
“The effect of this startling turn of events is that it hinders the processing of our retiring officer’s payments, more so if it starts from 2014 as ordered,” Commissioner Molibeli said.
He said the Finance Ministry rejects and query all correspondences asking for payment, requiring his authority as proof that the officers were promoted to a certain rank.

“The Commissioner of Police has granted such authority in respect of subordinate officers,” he said, adding: “The problem remains with senior officers’ promotions.”
For these, Lebona requires proof from the Commissioner and appointees of two ministers of police and public service who form the Promotions Board.
He said in terms of the Police Service Act, “the Appointment and Promotions Board is convened thus clothed with the responsibility for the appointment and promotion of senior officers”.
“This provision, however, does not deal with the procedure to be followed in this effect,” he said.
“The LMPS does not retain signatures of the authorities as prove that the board was convened, rather, after the board has promoted senior officers, the Commissioner as the chair of the board writes a formal letter to the officer informing him or her about the promotion and announces them through a Memo written by the staff officer.”

He said it is impossible to comply with Lebona’s request to furnish signatures of designated authorities in respect of senior officers’ promotions.
He said the only available correspondence is the letter of promotion from the Commissioner of Police along with the radio message (LMPS 72) or Memo.
Concerning the subordinate officers, he said “it has always been the practice that the Commissioner of Police would delegate such powers to the office of Human Resource”.
The human resource officer is responsible for deployment in the police having been delegated for that by the Commissioner.

Majara Molupe

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