Prison warder in trouble

Prison warder in trouble

MASERU – A prison warder who testified against his bosses after he was summoned by the Ombudsman is now in serious trouble.
Sergeant Tsepa Mpapea is now facing disciplinary charges for allegedly “absenting” himself when he went to the Ombudsman’s office to testify.
His bosses say he was away from work without a reasonable excuse.

The charge sheet which was seen by thepost says “the accused without reasonable excuse, the burden of proof of which shall be upon, is absent without leave from the prison or area in which he is stationed or from any parade or place of duty”.
It further reads: “On the 21st – 24th May 2018, the said accused was supposed to report himself on (sic) duty at 07:45hrs to16:00hrs but he did not report on (sic) duty.”
Mpapea has been summoned to appear before the Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) management.

Mpapea has however now approached the Ombudsman asking for his intervention.
He told the Ombudsman, Advocate Leshele Thoahlane, that on those dates he, along with some of his colleagues, was subpoenaed to appear before the Ombudsman leaving him with no choice but to do so.

Mpapea testified against his bosses in a case in which junior prison warders were accusing their seniors of promoting individuals based on their political party affiliation.
The Ombudsman’s Chief Legal Officer, Advocate Matšeliso Machai-Ndumo, told thepost in an interview that Mpapea indeed was subpoenaed to appear before the Ombudsman and that the LCS management were aware that he would not show up at work.

When he appeared before the Ombudsman, the LCS boss, Thabang Mothepu, also appeared under heavy guard from gun-brandishing bodyguards.
That stunned the Ombudsman Office staff and left them fuming and surprised.
The police were called in to contain the situation before it could get out of control.

The Ombudsman had issued a restraining order that no promotions should be made pending a ruling on a case whether the promotions were done based on the individuals’ political affiliations.
Lebohang Mochaba who is the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services told the panel that she was the one who ordered that the promotions be made despite Adv Thoahlane’s ruling.

Mochaba said she ordered Mothepu to proceed with the promotions because there was a security risk in the prisons.
Mochaba’s response cast a dreadful pall over the LCS.
The institution has since been involved in incessant skirmishes.

It remains to be seen what will follow after Mpapea appeared before the Ombudsman.
Machai-Ndumo said they were caught by surprise when they received news that Mpapea had been charged by his bosses who knew that he had been subpoenaed to appear before her office.

Majara Molupe

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