Thursday, April 25, 2024
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Lephema to face tough questions in parliament


Seabata Mahao

Minister of Local Government, Chieftainship, Home Affairs, and Police, Lebona Lephema, is set for a rigorous examination in Parliament on Thursday.

Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, will query Lephema on four critical matters concerning the procurement of vehicles for the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS).

First, the Minister will need to clarify whether public tender documents were issued for the acquisition of Mahindra vans and Honda Fit cars.

Second, he must disclose the winning company of the tender.

Third, he is expected to reveal the unit cost for each Mahindra and Honda Fit.

Lastly, Lephema will have to confirm whether the Honda Fit vehicles are new or secondhand.

The vehicles were officially handed over to the LMPS this week at an event attended by Prime Minister Ntsokoane Samuel Matekane, several ministers, and government officials at the Police Training College (PTC) in Maseru.

In his remarks, while receiving the new vehicles, Commissioner of Police (COMPOL) Holomo Molibeli vowed to reform the LMPS and restore its dignity in the country.

“I have been begging the government to buy police vehicles over the years since I was appointed as the Commissioner of Police in 2017,” Molibeli stated, highlighting, “this comes as part of my six-year celebration as the Commissioner of Police”.

Molibeli commended the government for delivering on their promise and hearing their long-term plea.

“For years the police were not able to reach out to their call-outs in time because of a shortage of police vehicles to the extent that Basotho were losing hope in them,” he said.

He further indicated that the vehicles had been branded in LMPS colours which are used and known by everyone.

He said these new police vehicles will prevent people from breaking the law as they will be visible and well-equipped which falls under visible policing.

“As part of visible policing, in two weeks from now, we will be launching the beginning of the new LMPS project to manufacture our own uniform here in our country,” Molibeli said.

“I have a desire for one day that, LMPS officers will be wearing body–cameras while they are on duty,” he continued. “The body camera will assist the police to review how they are working and most importantly police officers to be used as evidence in cases where they are framed for doing something they did not do,” said the Commissioner.

However, Molibeli warned those who will be tasked with driving these vehicles to use them with caution for the benefit of the public.

“There is no place for drunkard police officers in those vehicles,” he cautioned.

He reiterated: “These vehicles will have number tags for visibility purposes and if it is seen where it is not supposed to be, I urge the public to report it so we can deal with those responsible.”

“There are no police officers who should be seen in criminal activities while on duty,” Molibeli emphasised. “Any criminal activity equals dismissal as we have so many police officers who have been fired from service. We would rather have 20 committed officers than many police officers engaged in criminal activities,” he stated.

He added that LMPS through the use of the police helicopter, has been successful in their pursuits of livestock thieves. He said they had brought back many of Basotho’s stolen livestock with the use of the helicopter.

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