Liquor business owners have called on the police to provide them with protection against the current spate of criminal attacks to their businesses, which result in robberies and sometimes murders of employees.
The plea was made in a meeting between the Maseru Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and police commissioner Holomo Molibeli this week, which was aimed at discussing traders’ safety concerns.
The business people appealed to Molibeli to ensure more security and protection from rogue police officers who take bribes from assailants instead of apprehending and prosecuting them for the crimes.
The chairperson of MCCI, Motseki Nkeane, condemned this corruption that is practiced by law enforcement officers, which he said affects businesses.
“We are tired of the overwhelming crime that happens in our liquor businesses and we are even more tired of police not taking it seriously and choosing to work in cahoots with criminals to jeopardise cases. This needs to stop as we lose out on vital revenue while nothing seems to be done about it,” Nkeane said.
He complained that the police only appear to take such cases seriously when a murder has been committed during a robbery. All they do is take statements and the cases disappear into thin air.
Commissioner Molibeli said he was very much aware of the fact that police officers are known to take bribes, something he described as a big crisis in the country.
“In the same way we have dealt with the issue of pirate taxis, we will deal with this matter accordingly. The police are supposed to help the public instead of colluding with criminals,” Molibeli said.
He said one of the reasons that cops do not report promptly to reports of crime is shortage of vehicles, and appealed to members of the public to also assist the police with cars.
“We are under-resourced and unable to do some of the things we need to do. If we were other government employees we would just sit down and do nothing; there are times when we experience power outages and run out of stationery,” he said.
He reiterated that the police need resources in order to do their job of protecting people and ensure economic growth.