Makhethe loses contempt case

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

At­tor­ney Gen­eral (AG) tšokolo Makhethe ( pic­tured) red) on Mon­day lost a case in which­hich he wanted out­go­ing Prime Min­is­ter thomas tha­bane de­clared he had de­prived him of his right too con­tinue oc­cu­py­ing of­fice.

Ad­vo­cate Makhethe­hethe had filed the ap­pli­ca­tion be­foreefore the High Court on 19 Junee 2014 seek­ing an or­der block­ing ng Dr tha­bane from send­ing him on spe­cial leave pending the fi­nal­i­sa­tion isa­tion of a case he had ear­lier lodgedged in the same court.

In the first case,se, the AG had imm­plored the court to rule that he wasas en­ti­tled to re­tire at the age of 60 and d not 55 as Dr thaa­bane and Gov­ern­n­ment Sec­re­tary y Moahloli Mphaka a had wanted him to.

How­ever, the case was de­layed due to on­go­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween him and the gov­ern­ment, as well as a pending judg­ment be­fore the Con­sti­tu­tional Court in a sim­i­lar case in­volv­ing Direc­tor of Public Pros­e­cu­tions Leaba Thet­sane.

the High Court then ruled he should con­tinue in his post un­til the fina fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the ne­go­ti­a­tions as well­wel as Ad­vo­cate thet­sane’s case.

But w when King’s Coun­sel thet­sane lo lost his case be­fore the Con­sti­tu­tio sti­tu­tional Court, Mr Mphaka wrote a let­ter to the AG in­form­ing him to go on spe­cial leave pending the det de­ter­mi­na­tion of the for­mer’s ap­peal.

King’ King’s Coun­sel Makhethe then lodged an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion seek­ing the court to find Dr Tha­bane, Mr Mphaka,Mph and Min­is­ter of Law, Con­stit Con­sti­tu­tional Af­fairs and Hu­man rights Haae Phoofolo in contempt for still try­ing to re­move him from his pos post de­spite the court’s rul­ing. But dur­ing an ar­gu­ment in the H High Court on 9 Septem­ber 201 2014, his lawyer, Se­nior Guido Pe Pen­zhorn did not pur­sue the p point to have Dr Tha­bane,

Mr Mphaka and other re- spon­dents found in contempt but only to have de­nied him the right to con­tinue in his post.

How­ever, High Court judge, Jus­tice tham­sanqa nom­n­congo on Mon­day dis­missed the AG’S ap­pli­ca­tion, stat­ing: “The is­sue to be de­cided here is whether a per­son in the po­si­tion of the ap­pli­cant can avail him­self of this rem­edy.

“The of­fice of At­tor­ney Gen­eral is an of­fice in the public ser­vice. The in­cum­bent of the of­fice for the time be­ing is, as such, merely a ser­vant.

“He en­joys cer­tain benefits and does not hold of­fice on his own be­half but the public that he serves, which in turn is rep­re­sented by gov­ern­ment.

“In the let­ter re­quir­ing him to pro­ceed on leave, whether spe­cial or not, it was specif­i­cally said that he re­tained all benefits per­tain­ing to his of­fice pending the out­come of an ap­peal be­fore the Ap­peal Court.

“As I said, the case was iden­ti­cal to that in which the Con­sti­tu­tional Court had ruled against the DPP.

“If the Court of Ap­peal was to con­firm the rul­ing, it is ob­vi­ous that the At­tor­ney Gen­eral would have ex­er­cised func­tions which he would not have had the right to.

“In­stead of do­ing the hon­ourable thing and go­ing on leave in the face of a judg­ment by the Con­sti­tu­tional Court, the ap­pli­cant chose to ap­proach this court for a rem­edy that is not avail­able to him.”

He had asked that the court sen­tences Dr tha­bane and Mr Mphaka “in re­spect of such contempt as it deems ap­pro­pri­ate.”

He also wanted them or­dered to re­store “his of­fice as well as all things nec­es­sary for him to ex­er­cise fully and in­hib­ited his pow­ers as At­tor­ney Gen­eral of Le­sotho.”

But Jus­tice Nom­n­congo ruled: “the ap­pli­ca­tion is dis­missed with costs.”

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