MASERU – Prime Minister (PM) Thomas Thabane says the Commissioner of Police (COMPOL), Holomo Molibeli should not continue to hold office after a criminal charge was laid against him. Thabane says Molibeli, accused of lying under oath, should be out of office to allow investigations against him to run smoothly. This has emerged in court in court papers (answering affidavit) where Thabane is responding to Molibeli’s court bid to prevent the Prime Minister from suspending him.
When he learned there are criminal investigations against COMPOL, Thabane on April 15 wrote to Molibeli asking him to show cause why he cannot be suspended from office when a criminal case has been lodged against him. Thabane said it is in the in the interest of justice that Molibeli be suspended while investigations against him continue.
“…I have received a letter from Police Authority (Police Minister) dated April 14th 2020 in terms of which he advised me that a criminal case has been lodged against you at Maseru Central Charge Office. “I have been informed by the police authority that the complaint relates to the criminal case in that you committed perjury by intentionally making a false statement . . . before the High Court.” reads Thabane’s letter in part.
The letter further states: “It is alleged that in those proceedings you suggested that you were transferring one of your subordinates from Maseru to Qacha’s Nek because there was only one senior officer responsible to that district. I have been advised that this statement was false because there were three Senior Officers at the level of Senior Superintendent and two Senior Inspectors.”
Having considered the matter, Thabane said: “it cannot be fair and right that you remain in office while criminal investigations are conducted against you by your subordinates,” Molibeli did not respond to Thabane’s letter but on April 16 approached the High Court on an urgent basis asking the court to prevent Thabane from suspending him, but Thabane argues Molibeli is abusing court process for having approached the court and not responding to his letter or request an extension to respond.
Molibeli alleged that the PM continues to push for his ouster for having investigated him in relation to the murder of ex wife Lipolelo Thabane. Several attempts failed when Thabane sought to suspend Molibeli with the latest ruling saying the decision to retire Molibeli was irrational. In the latest court application, Molibeli maintains that Thabane wants him out of the COMPOL office for having investigated him on the murder of Lipolelo but Thabane said Molibeli “is seemingly obsessed with the investigations.”
He says the allegations that he is implicated in the death of the ex-wife are irrelevant to Molibeli’s court application and are used only to attract sympathy from the court. In his affidavit, Thabane also accuses Molibeli of spying on cabinet ministers, including him for his own personal reasons. The PM said government has learned about the COMPOL’s conduct and are working towards ensuring that he accounts for his actions.
Thabane says he has discovered that Molibeli places police operatives and other spies around his (Thabane) residence so that he is able to monitor his visitors for own personal interests. “The commissioner relies on spies that he has planted to fish information from ministers and then turns around and suggests that these are members of the intelligence community, he is fully aware that his conduct of spying on government officials particularly ministers is illegal and constitutes abuse of state resources.” A panel of judges is yet to be constituted to hear the case.