Judg­ment re­served in Mos­ito case

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

The Court of Ap­peal on Mon­day re­served judg­ment on whether or not its sus­pended pres­i­dent, Jus­tice Kananelo Mos­ito, should stand trial for al­legedly vi­o­lat­ing the coun­try’s tax laws.

Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP) Ad­vo­cate Le­aba Thet­sane on 21 Au­gust 2015 is­sued a no­tice of trial against Jus­tice Mos­ito for his al­leged fail­ure to sub­mit in­come tax re­turns be­tween 31 March 1996 and 31 March 2014.

Jus­tice Mos­ito was re­quired to ap­pear be­fore the high Court for the said charges on 31 Au­gust 2015 but filed an ur­gent con­sti­tu­tional ap­pli­ca­tion on the same day to block the pros­e­cu­tion on the grounds it vi­o­lated pro­vi­sions of the coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion.

Jus­tice Mos­ito also com­plained that his pros­e­cu­tion was dis­crim­i­na­tory be­cause he was al­legedly sin­gled out of other judges and some top lawyers.

But be­fore the ap­pli­ca­tion could be heard, Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili wrote a let­ter to Jus­tice Mos­ito in­form­ing him about his in­ten­tion to ad­vise King Let­sie III to ap­point a tri­bunal to in­ves­ti­gate him for pos­si­ble im­peach­ment.

In re­sponse, Jus­tice Mos­ito filed another ap­pli­ca­tion seek­ing to block Dr Mo­sisili’s move.

The two ap­pli­ca­tions were ar­gued to­gether, with the Con­sti­tu­tional Court dis­miss­ing both cases.

how­ever, Jus­tice Mos­ito ap­pealed the judg­ment and also filed an ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore the Court of Ap­peal for an or­der stop­ping the DPP from pro­ceed­ing with the case.

The judge also wanted the court to stop Dr Mo­sisili from ad­vis­ing the King to es­tab­lish the im­peach­ment tri­bunal.

The Court of Ap­peal on 26 Jan­uary this year ruled in favour of the Prime Min­is­ter, but stopped the DPP from con­tin­u­ing with the crim­i­nal charges un­til the ap­peal had been fi­nalised.

When the case went be­fore the same court on Mon­day this week, judg­ment was re- served.

Dur­ing Mon­day’s ar­gu­ment, Jus­tice Mos­ito’s lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Mon­a­heng Rasekoai, told the court when the Prime Min­is­ter wrote a let­ter in­di­cat­ing his in­ten­tion to es­tab­lish the im­peach­ment tri­bunal, he was vi­o­lat­ing prin­ci­ples of law which re­quire non-in­ter­fer­ence with is­sues pend­ing in court.

“When the case was not yet fi­nal­ized, the Prime Min­is­ter wrote a let­ter to kick-start ju­di­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tions on the ba­sis of crim­i­nal charges chal­lenged in court.

“It was a bla­tant vi­o­la­tion of the dice rule.

“It was not right for the Prime Min­is­ter to au­thor that let­ter when there was a pend­ing case. Prior to charg­ing a judge, there must be an in­quiry,” Ad­vo­cate Rasekoai said.

The lawyer also said the tax charges

sub-ju- against Jus­tice Mos­ito were il­le­gal be­cause they were not ini­ti­ated by the Com­mis­sioner of the Le­sotho Rev­enue Au­thor­ity (LRA) as re­quired by the law.

“Where there is a tax of­fence, the com­mis­sioner him­self should be the ini­tia­tor, but it is clear that the DPP charged him on his own,” he said.

But Se­nior Coun­sel Guido Pen­zhorn who rep­re­sents the DPP and At­tor­ney Gen­eral in the case, said the DPP had the right to pre­fer crim­i­nal charges on any­one.

“The de­ci­sion to pros­e­cute lies with the DPP.

“If a judge is fac­ing charges, he must chal­lenge them be­fore that same court,” he said.

Ad­vo­cate Pen­zhorn said it was also not cor­rect that the DPP should have waited for the tri­bunal es­tab­lished un­der sec­tion 125 of the con­sti­tu­tion be­fore charg­ing Jus­tice Mos­ito.

“Sec­tion 125 has noth­ing to do with what the DPP does,” Ad­vo­cate Pen­zhorn said.

SUS­PENDED Court of Ap­peal Pres­i­dent Jus­tice Kananelo Mos­ito.

DPP Ad­vo­cate Le­aba Thet­sane (KC)

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