Gun thieving duo dismissed from police service



MASERU – Two members of the police Special Operations Unit (SOU) who allegedly stole two rifles from the Mabote Police Station on July 28, 2023 have been dismissed from the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) service. In an interview this week, LMPS Senior Superintendent Kabelo Halahala said the two men have been dismissed effective from August 15, 2023 in line with the Police Act No. 7 of 1998 section 31(1)(i). He added that their court case will be remanded next week, but is not certain of the date.

Section 31(1)(i) of the Police Service Act of 1998 provides that the “Commissioner of Police may dismiss an officer who subverts good order, discipline or lawful authority and tends to bring the Police Service into disrepute”. The accused were alleged to have stolen two AK 47 rifles and 60 bullets from the Mabote Police station. Their action has damaged the integrity of the LMPS officials, which is something police cannot take lightly, Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli said during the weekly police reports on Tuesday this week.

The two Police Constables (PC): Poloko Lehoko of Ha Kholoko, Roma and Sempe Theko of Ha Tjopa, Thaba-Bosiu had appeared before the Magistrate on July 31, 2023, and are currently awaiting their trial in prison after each failed to pay a M3 000 fine.  Molibeli said the two rifles went missing at Mabote Police station last Friday, where suspects are stationed. Upon investigation they revealed that both Police Constables (PC) Lehoko and Theko are were suspects in the case of the two missing rifles.

The rifles went missing during the time when PC Theko who was not supposed to be on duty that day but he had gone to the police station as if he was supposed to be on duty. After taking the rifles, PC Theko took them to PC Lehoko’s house to keep them. Police investigations show that the two suspects passed them to another suspect who is on the run and is suspected of being into illegal mining in South Africa. The suspects were given the option to pay a bail of M3000 and present properties worth M10 000 each, but failed to do so. They are currently at the Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) awaiting charges.

Stolen and missing firearms are linked to a series of crimes, which are under investigation some of which include illegal mining. Motlalentoa Letsosa from the opposition Democratic Congress (DC) said although he cannot say Lesotho is the supplier of guns to Basotho illegal miners in South Africa, unfortunately recent incidents of theft of firearms suggest so. He added that he would not be surprised if that is the case because the minister of foreign affairs once made a statement noting that the guns that were found from illegal miners were from the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) and Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).

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