. . . as Spe­cial Forces com­man­der ap­peals rul­ing

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

LE­SOTHO De­fence Force ( LDF) Spe­cial Forces com­man­der, Lieu­tenant-colonel Tefo Hashatsi, has ap­pealed a High Court rul­ing dis­miss­ing his bid to have the SADC in­quiry into Le­sotho’s in­sta­bil­ity de­clared il­le­gal.

Jus­tice Tšeliso Mon­aphathi dis­missed the chal­lenge on Mon­day, say­ing it was pre­ma­ture for Lt-col Hashatsi to seek to nul­lify the SADC Com­mis­sion be­fore it had com­pleted its in­quiry.

How­ever, on the same day, Lt-col Hashatsi lodged an ap­peal in the Court of Ap­peal.

In his grounds of ap­peal, Lt-col Hashatsi says: “The learned judge erred and mis­di­rected him­self in hold­ing as he did that the pro­ceed­ings were brought pre­ma­turely in view of the fact that at the time the pro­ceed­ings were in­sti­tuted, namely on 16 Oc­to­ber 2015, the un­chal­lenged ev­i­dence in­di­cated that the com­mis­sion was due to com­plete its busi­ness on 21 Oc­to­ber 2015.

“The learned judge erred and mis­di­rected him­self in dis­miss­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion when there was ev­i­dence prov­ing and sub­stan­ti­at­ing the re­lief sought. Had the learned judge brought his mind to bear on the ev­i­dence as a whole he should have granted the ap­pli­ca­tion.”

He also chal­lenges the judge’s rul­ing that the com­mis­sion acted within its pow­ers by gath­er­ing ev­i­dence in Thaba-nchu, South Africa where ex­iled op­po­si­tion lead­ers and mem­bers of the army gave tes­ti­monies.

“The learned judge erred and mis­di­rected him­self in hold­ing as he did that the se­cond and third re­spon­dents, Jus­tice Mpa­phi Phumaphi and the Com­mis­sion re­spec­tively, were en­ti­tled to sit and hear ev­i­dence in the Re­pub­lic of South Africa,” Lt-col Hashatsi ar­gues.

“The learned judge ought to have held that such sit­ting and hear­ing was ul­tra vires (be­yond their le­gal power) the pro­vi­sions of sec­tion 3 of the Pub­lic In­quiries Act read with le­gal no­tices num­ber 75 and 88 of 2015 that de­fined the na­ture and ex­tent of their man­date.”

He fur­ther ar­gues that: “The learned judge erred and mis­di­rected him­self in not re­view­ing and set­ting aside the pro­ceed­ings of the se­cond and third re­spon­dents as hav­ing been vi­ti­ated by an er­ror of law in that he should have held that the pro­ceed­ings be­fore th­ese re­spon­dents should have been con­ducted ac­cord­ing to the pro­vi­sions of the Pub­lic In­quiries Act.

“Had the learned judge brought his mind to bear on the ev­i­dence be­fore him, he should have held that the se­cond and third re­spon­dents were bound by the pro­vi­sions of the Pub­lic In­quiries Act.”

He wants the probe to be de­clared il­le­gal be­cause some of its mem­bers, in­clud­ing a Mr Waly, were not “legally com­mis­sioned”, and says the re­spon­dents should ex­plain to the court

Lt-col Hashatsi also com­plains that the judge should have ruled in his favour to re­strain Jus­tice Phumaphi and the com­mis­sion from mak­ing any find­ings against him.

Mean­while, the first ses­sion of the Court of Ap­peal is sched­uled for April this year.

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