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April 24, 2024


Maseru, Apr.03 — The Commissioner of Police (COMPOL) Mr. Holomo Molibeli has once again managed to avoid answering for his alleged contemptuous behaviour by bringing an application for recusal of a judge presiding over an application for contempt which has been instituted against him. 

Just like on Monday last week, the COMPOL was today expected appear in person before the court to show cause why he cannot be committed for the contempt of court as per a court order issued earlier. The Court had issued the order after the COMPOL failed to implement its other order directing him to restore bodyguards for Deputy Commissioner of Police Crime Investigation Division Mr. Beleme Lebajoa whom he has withdrawn. 

On Monday last week, the COMPOL who was before court as directed, sought a postponement through a state lawyer Advocate Mafefooane Moshoeshoe who was before the court on that day. He indicated that he needed time to find a private lawyer to represent him in the matter. This was after the previous state lawyer who was involved in the matter asked that he be excused. The postponement was granted and today when the proceedings on the contempt application had to commence, he presented the court with an application for recusal. 

His new legal representative Advocate Tekane Maqaqachane told the court that he was only able to accept a brief from the COMPOL yesterday and draft the application for recusal as he was not available last week. 

Legal representatives for the applicant in the Contempt Application Adv. Salemane Phafane (KC)stated that it is a trend by the respondent to wait until the 11th hour to bring a surprise that prevents the court from proceeding with its business of the day. He said the application for recusal should have been filed earlier so that it is responded to and the matter proceeds today. 

He indicated that the COMPOL is buying time through the application adding that he is abusing the court process. He said the COMPOL knew that the court will be forced to postpone the proceedings for the contempt application so that the application for recusal can be heard first. 

Adv. Phafane emphasised that the COMPOL is taking the court for a ride as he waited for his preferred lawyer to be available instead of using one which was free. He indicated that right to legal representation entails using the lawyer who is available adding that it is not about one’s convenience. He said the attempt to force the postponement in a form of the recusal application is not bona fide. 

The Court is expected to hear arguments on the recusal application on June 13 2023.  

The application for contempt was instituted by Lebajoa and according to him, the guards were unilaterally and without a hearing withdrawn from him pending finalisation of the main application. He states that following various failed attempts to have the court order implemented he was forced to institute the application for contempt against the COMPOL.  

He says the COMPOL’s move is calculated to derail the administration of justice. He adds that this cannot be allowed in a democratic dispensation where there is rule of law. He insists that the COMPOL is in contempt of court and must be dealt with according to law.  

Lebajoa asks that the COMPOL be committed to jail for 60 days for contempt of Court. He states that the courts must mark their displeasure and their commitment to restoring the rule of law by granting the order sought if they are to retain the public confidence and respect they deserve.  

He emphasises that doing otherwise will add insult to the integrity of the Court. He insists that the COMPOL intentionally and unlawfully disobeyed the court order. 

The case is before Justice Tseliso Mokoko. 


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