Africa-Press – Lesotho. Judge Tšeliso Mokoko has chastised the Commissioner of Police (COMPOL) Holomo Molibeli for contempt. These developments unfolded yesterday in the High Court in Maseru.
COMPOL had been engaged in a seemingly protracted case for his decision to discharge police recruits from the Police Training College (PTC) following an advanced vetting of the recruits that found some to be of “unsavory character”.
Whereas the vetting established that some were not medically fit to continue with the police training, some were found to have criminal records hanging over their heads.
Molibeli then wrote a show cause letter to those found wanting to make their representation on why they cannot be discontinued from the training. Instead, the aggrieved recruits petitioned the court to interdict the COMPOL and their prayer was granted.
They had already been dismissed from the training. Meanwhile, in his court papers, Molibeli said he was not aware of the Judge ‘Maliepollo Makhetha’s order directing him to reinstate recruits at PTC on May 24. Also Judge Mokoko’s similar order made on June 29.
The applicants were Moliehi Dlamini, Mokhethi Damane, Lebaka Matiea, Kopano Ramokhoro, Ngaka Lenka, Mojela Gugushe, Thabang Maime, Lechesa Lepheane, Poloko Sekhohola, Refiloe Kheleli, Moorosi Kalane and Sebongile Cekwane respectively.
The respondents were the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General respectively. On June 29, the applicants won the dismissal case and the court ordered that they be reinstated “without loss of status and benefits”.
“The decision by the 1st Respondents to discharge the Applicants from the Police Training College Programme be and is hereby reviewed and set aside as irregular and wrongful thus null and void ab initio [from the beginning] and of no legal force and effect;
“The Respondent be and is hereby ordered and directed to reinstate the Applicants back into the Police Training College Recruitment Programme without loss of status and benefits and to pay the Applicants any arrear salaries which may have been paid in their absence,” reads the court ruling in pertinent part.
The order further said that their outstanding salaries be paid as others were paid while they were out of the training. Upon failing to recall the recruits from the training programme, they filed the case of contempt and COMPOL was summoned to court by Judge Mokoko on Friday to explain why he had not executed the order of the court and in response, COMPOL said there were processes that were made for their reinstatement.
The recruits’ lawyer, Advocate Rethabile Setlojoane told the court yesterday that his clients had been reinstated at the training on Saturday. He said he had received the letter from COMPOL stating that his clients had been reinstated “subject to the outcome of the Court of Appeal case CIV Appeal 32/2022 and subsequent application thereof”.
Advocate Setlojoane however took swipe at this letter saying, “I have a difficulty with this alleged compliance” further saying there was no compliance regarding the order of the court on the payment of their outstanding salaries.
Molibeli had in his papers said they should earn the salaries for the services they have rendered saying the payments could not be warranted as they had not rendered any services.
The respondents’ lawyer, Advocate Ntohla Sehloho told the court that the payment might delay as they have already been processed, but had asked the court a leave to consult with the payment department to establish as to when they will be paid.
Judge Mokoko said the court is displeased with the COMPOL’s contemptuous behaviour, adding that the court cannot be seen to be condoning Molibeli’s contemptuousness.
He further said by not honoring the orders of the court, he described that act as a violation of the dignity and the authority of the court. “Applicant is directed to comply with the Order of Makhetha J. in CIV/APN/0169/2022,” says the court order.
The matter has been scheduled for August 5 where the Advocate Sehloho is expected to apprise the court on when the applicants’ payment arrears will be made after having consulted with the payments department.