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Police Commissioner faces jail time for contempt of court

Homolo Molibeli. Photo Cred: LMPS Website
Homolo Molibeli. Photo Cred: LMPS Website

Lesotho’s Police Commissioner, Holomo Molibeli, is facing multiple legal challenges that could land him in jail or cost him millions of maloti. Molibeli has been accused of disobeying court orders, torturing suspects, and maliciously prosecuting his critics.

One of the cases against Molibeli involves his deputy, Beleme Lebajoa, who wants him jailed for 60 days for failing to obey a 6 March 2023 High Court order to reinstate his security personnel. Lebajoa had approached the court after Molibeli had allegedly ordered him to vacate the CID office and stripped him of his two bodyguards in February 2023. The court ordered Molibeli to restore Lebajoa’s benefits pending the finalisation of his application. However, Molibeli has allegedly refused to comply with the order despite being advised by his lawyer to do so. Lebajoa’s contempt of court application is expected to be heard by Justice Tseliso Mokoko tomorrow.

Another case against Molibeli involves a Tšenola woman, Makahlolo Mochobi, who is suing him for M500 000 for her alleged torture by the police in February 2023. Mochobi claims she was arrested and brutalised by the police when she went to report a case of a fake Facebook account that had been opened in her name and used to insult a radio personality. Mochobi says she does not know why she was abused by the police instead of being helped. She is seeking compensation for the pain and suffering she endured during her unlawful arrest and detention.

Molibeli is also facing a M3 million lawsuit from the president of the Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA), Teboho Modia, for malicious prosecution. Modia alleges that Molibeli wrongfully charged him in November 2021 after he read a statement on behalf of LEPOSA calling for Molibeli’s removal from office. Modia says the charge was meant to intimidate and silence him for exercising his constitutional right to freedom of expression. He is demanding damages for the violation of his rights and reputation.

These are not the only legal troubles that Molibeli is facing. He has also been sued by several farmers over the seizure of their wool and mohair worth M2.9 million in January 2023. The farmers accuse Molibeli of acting unlawfully and arbitrarily by confiscating their produce without a court order or a valid reason.

Molibeli has not yet responded to the allegations against him in court or in public. His tenure as the Police Commissioner has been marred by controversy and criticism from various quarters, including politicians, civil society, and his own subordinates. It remains to be seen how he will deal with the mounting pressure and litigation against him.

Source: Lesotho Times

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