ACP Mapola, law minister in M3m duel

Police officer in hot water for defaming Mahao


MASERU – Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Motlatsi Mapola is in soup for accusing law and justice minister, Professor Nqosa Mahao, of falsely implicating former Prime Minister Motsoahae Thabane in the murder of his late wife Lipolelo Thabane.

Mapola is, as a result, facing a M3 million defamation lawsuit because of alleged defamatory remarks he made about the law minister in a local newspaper last month. The comments are contained inside the January 17-23 publication of the Sunday Express wherein Mapola spoke about the late premier’s wife Lipolelo’s murder case.

In the interview, Mapola denied allegations that Thabane was involved in the murder of his late wife and claimed that it is not true that Thabane’s mobile phone was used as alleged by police in the widely publicized case.

Mapola also argued that the allegations against the former premier are fabricated by Mahao’s faction of the All Basotho Convention, of which he is deputy leader, in collaboration with Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Commissioner Holomo Molibeli. The newspaper article did not sit well with Mahao who is now demanding M3 million in compensation from Mapola.

He says the interview the paper had with Mapola is defamatory. Professor Mahao filed the lawsuit last Friday and has cited ACP Mapola and the Sunday paper as respondents. He says the message disseminated is not only malicious but also injurious.

“The message disseminated by the 2nd Respondent (Sunday Express) and communicated directly by the 1st Respondent (ACP Mapola) is in a malicious and injurious tone…” Mahao argued in court papers.

Narrating the remarks by Mapola, Mahao tells the court that the policeman has accused him of leading a political faction that deliberately and falsely implicated the ABC leader, Thabane, in the murder of his late wife.

Mapola is also reported to have accused Mahao of abusing Commissioner Molibeli and using his institutional clout as head of the LMPS to fabricate a murder case against the former premier.

On top of that, Mapola is said to have falsified an Inter-Ministerial Commission of Enquiry that was investigating the instability within the police force, saying it endeavored to protect and issue a biased report that favored Molibeli. Mahao chaired the said committee. Mahao has attached the newspaper carrying the subject article to his court papers as evidence.

He argues that Mapola’s utterances as published in the paper are not only false but defamatory. He says he is aggrieved and humiliated by the comments and believes that they were aimed at lowering his esteem and portraying him as a bad person.

“It is specifically pleaded that the defamatory remarks complained of were aimed at lowering the plaintiff in esteem and portraying him as a politically ambitious person who would go to the measures and lengths of using the highest ranking head of the law enforcement agency in the country for both personal and political gain,” Mahao alleges. The utterances, Mahao believes, have the effect of portraying him as a liar, manipulator and a politician abusing his public office for both personal and political gain.

“The publication by the 2nd Respondent (Sunday Express) from malicious utterances staged by the 1st Respondent (Motlatsi Mapola) has the effect of portraying the Plaintiff (Mahao) as a liar, a manipulator and a politician that abuses his public office for personal and political gain.”

Mahao further states: “The newspaper enjoys coverage in all the ten districts in the country and effectively depicted the plaintiff as both irresponsible and of low moral character and such remarks achieved the objective of humiliating and or undermining Plaintiff’s esteem and character and disseminated to the nation at large with the potential of affecting him as a career politician.”

Professor Mahao also argues that publication of the remarks made by Mapola attract grave prejudice to his professional reputation both as an academic and career politician and that the article “left a huge dent to his personal dignity as well.”

He argues that the net effect of the publication and utterances by the policeman was to subject him to low professional esteem, ill-will, ridicule, disesteem or contempt in a forum that aroused wide interest in the public domain.

According to Mahao, the publication was wrong, unlawful and malicious while also affecting on his reputation. For that, he argues that “the defendants are for that reason liable jointly and severally for the said defamatory remarks as against the plaintiff.”

He says he is entitled to damages up to the tune of M3 million and argue that the injurious and malicious attack on his dignity and esteem was unfounded adding that the attack achieved the end of publicly demeaning and subjecting him to offensive and degrading treatment by his peers in political circles, career and ordinary citizens who are electorates.

The newspaper article, he believes, has deleterious effect of damaging his chances in the impending race for party leadership and as an aspiring candidate for national elections in 2022. The late Thabane’s wife murder trial remains pending before the courts of law with only one of the suspects having officially been charged for the murder.

Thabane’s third wife, ‘Maesaiah Thabane, was on February 5, 2020, officially charged for the murder but freed on bail the same day. Her bail was later revoked by the Appeal Court, which ordered that the bail be heard afresh resulting in ‘Maesaiah getting a M20 000 bail. None of the other suspects in the case have been formally charged up to date.


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