Date set for Mos­ito’s chal­lenge

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

THE High Court has set 26 Jan­uary 2016 as the date for hear­ing a case in which Court of Ap­peal Pres­i­dent, Jus­tice Kananelo Mos­ito, is bat­tling to pre­vent Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili from es­tab­lish­ing an im­peach­ment tri­bunal against him.

The date was set af­ter Jus­tice Mos­ito’s lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Mon­a­heng Rasekoai, and the lawyers rep­re­sent­ing Dr Mo­sisili, At­tor­ney-gen­eral Tšokolo Makhethe and Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP) Le­aba Thet­sane (King’s Coun­sel) ap­peared be­fore Chief Jus­tice Nthomeng Ma­jara on Mon­day to map the way for­ward re­gard­ing the case.

Jus­tice Mos­ito ob­tained an in­terim court or­der in the High Court on 30 De­cem­ber 2015 pre­vent­ing Dr Mo­sisili from es­tab­lish­ing a tri­bunal to pre­side over his im­peach­ment hear­ing.

The Court of Ap­peal pres­i­dent sought the tem­po­rary re­prieve af­ter learn­ing that Govern­ment Sec­re­tary, Le­bo­hang Ramohlanka, had writ­ten to three prom­i­nent South African judges re­quest­ing them to pre­side over an im­peach­ment tri­bunal that would be set up by King Let­sie III at the in­sti­ga­tion of the premier.

Dated 28 De­cem­ber 2015, the let­ters were ad­dressed to Jus­tices Fred­erik Daniel Ja­cobus Brand, Noel Vic­tor Hurt and John God­frey Fox­croft.

Part of the let­ter writ­ten to Jus­tice Brand reads: “I write to in­form your lord­ship that it has pleased the Right Honourable the Prime Min­is­ter to se­lect you to be a mem­ber of the tri­bunal and its chair­man on the fol­low­ing terms and con­di­tions: l Pay­ment of M20 000 sit­ting al­lowance per day or part thereof, of the sit­ting days of the tri­bunal. l Pay­ment of M10 000 re­search and prepa­ra­tion al­lowance per day or part thereof, of the sit­ting and non-sit­ting days of the tri­bunal.”

The two other judges would be mem­bers of the tri­bunal and each get a M15 000 daily sit­ting al­lowance and M8 000 for re­search and prepa­ra­tion.

The move to im­peach the Court of Ap­peal pres­i­dent was prompted by the pre­fer­ring of crim­i­nal charges against him by DPP Ad­vo­cate Thet­sane on 21 Au­gust 2015 for al­legedly not pay­ing tax for his le­gal firm from 1996 to 2014.

Jus­tice Mos­ito is charged with vi­o­lat­ing pro­vi­sions of the In­come Tax Act of 1993, and Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure and Ev­i­dence Act of 1981. Ac­cord­ing to the charges, Jus­tice Mos­ito never reg­is­tered with the tax au- thor­i­ties as re­quired by the law and only did so on 20 April 2015.

Dr Mo­sisili had sub­se­quently writ­ten to Jus­tice Mos­ito, in a let­ter dated 8 Oc­to­ber 2015, ef­fec­tively telling the Court of Ap­peal Pres­i­dent that be­cause of the “ad­verse” al­le­ga­tions of tax vi­o­la­tions against him, he was un­fit to re­main in of­fice as he had vi­o­lated the very law that he had sworn to up­hold.

Jus­tice Mos­ito then launched a se­ries of court ac­tions to save his job in which his lawyers ar­gued that he was be­ing vic­tim­ized by the coali­tion govern­ment be­cause he was an ap­pointee of for­mer premier Thomas Tha­bane.

How­ever, Jus­tice Mos­ito lost a Con­sti­tu­tional Court t bid to quash the tax-eva­sion charges­rges and im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ingsngs against him on 15 De­cem­ber r 2015, af­ter three South African can judges pre­sid­ing over the case ruled that the DPP and premier were within their eir rights to pro­ceed with the crim­i­nal­rim­i­nal charges.

He, how­ever, ap­pealed­pealed against the de­ci­sionn on 16 De­cem­ber 2015 and d filed an ap­pli­ca­tion to stay thehe ex­e­cu­tion of the judg­ment.

The in­vi­ta­tions for or the three SA judges were mad­ede seven days af­ter Jus­tice Mos­ito wrote a let­ter to Dr Mo­sisili in re­spon­se­ponse to the premier’s re­quest onn 16 De­cem­ber 2015 for the Courtrt of Ap­peal pres­i­dent to sub­mit rea­sons in writ­ing why a tri­bunal nal should not be es­tab­lished.

In his let­ter datedd 21 De­cem­ber 2015, Jus­tice Mos­ito said the premier shoul­duld not pro­ceed with the im­peach­peach­ment un­til his ap­pli­ca­tion ation to stay the judg­ment nt of the Con­sti­tu­tional Court ourt rul­ing was fi­nalised.

“For the fol­low­ing rea­sons it would, in my opin­ion, be in­ap­pro­pri­ate for the Prime Min­is­ter to pro­ceed to re­quest His Majesty, the King to ap­point a tri­bunal.

“Firstly, on 17 De­cem­ber 2015, the Prime Min­is­ter un­der­took through his coun­sel Ad­vo­cate G. (Guido) Pen­zhorn SC be­fore the Chief Jus­tice Nthomeng Ma­jara, that he would not ex­e­cute the judge­ment of the High Court pend­ing fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the stay pro­ceed­ings.

“I was sur­prised to re­ceive the Prime Min­is­ter’s let­ter few hours later seek­ing to en­force that judg­ment.

“Se­condly, an ap­point­ment of a tri­bunal to deal with mat­ters pend­ing be­fore the Court of Ap­peal un­der­mines the sub ju­dice rule and the rule of law.”

I was sur­prised to re­ceive the Prime Min­is­ter’s let­ter few hours later seek­ing to en­force that judg­ment. Se­condly, an ap­point­ment of a tri­bunal to deal with mat­ters pend­ing be­fore the Court of Ap­peal un­der­mines the sub ju­dice rule and the rule of law

Pres­i­dent of the Ap­peal Court Jus­tice Kananelo Mos­ito.

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